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Table 2 Helpful and hindering aspects of TOP, CORE-OM, PSYCHLOPS and PQ as reported by patients

From: “It is not just about the alcohol”: service users’ views about individualised and standardised clinical assessment in a therapeutic community for alcohol dependence

  Helpful Hindering
Key aspects Patients’ voices Key aspects Patients’ voices
TOP Raises awareness about the quantity of drugs/alcohol used
Promotes emotional/breakthrough experiences
It is a way of getting yourself together, we have no idea about how much alcohol we used to drink and the money we spent”, P3 0–20 scale questions to rate psychological/physical health and quality of life difficult to understand and meaningless “When I was asked about this I answered by chance. It meant nothing to me. Later we are able to answer in another way”, P5
CORE-OM User-friendly
Contents relevant to this population
Enhances self-awareness
“This instrument is related to what we are”, P7 Large number of items
Contains questions about sensitive topics (e.g. suicide) Items not generated by patients
“The questions were made by other people and the words didn’t come from inside of us”, P7
PSYCHLOPS Easy to understand
Helps reflecting about personal difficulties
Provides freedom of expression to talk about any topic, related or not to substance use
Makes patients feel like “normal” people
“It not just about the alcohol, we feel bad about many other things in life. My sister doesn’t drink alcohol but could answer this too, because everyone has problems”, P8 Requires personal exposure
The self-completion format may lead to misleading or incomplete answers
“We want to hide our real problems for fears of being judged (…) if the words are already written by someone else, it is easier to just say yes or no”, P7
PQ Opportunity for self-reflection
Oral format encourages to talk about personal problems
“When a person encourages us to talk, we become more comfortable and open. I talked about my drinking problem...” P7 Patients reported none. “It is fine as it is”, P1