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The future perspectives of behavioural assessment

Behavioural assessments emphasize direct assessment (naturalistic observations) of problematic behaviour, antecedent (situational) conditions, and consequences (reinforcement). Therefore, they find widespread usage in a variety of settings from personal to pain management to work settings. In the future, behavioural assessments will be virtual. Studies point to a strong link between social factors and the development of CHD (Coronary Heart Diseases). A few decades ago, a study by Miller et al, 1996 pointed out that chronic anger and hostility can be risk factors for coronary heart disease and death. Type A behaviour pattern on the basis of assessments is a familiar example. Future trends and perspectives indicate that there is a growing interest in studying human traits and resources that might have direct implications for our physical and mental well-being. Although research into the realm of ‘positive psychology’ is in its infancy, future perspectives of behaviour assessments in aspects of ‘accentuating the positive’ are growing by leaps and bounds. Compassion, gratitude, humour, forgiveness, and their placebo effect, if any, or actual physiological benefits are all being adjudged as future trends which will be assessed with behavioural tools.

Addictive behaviour is one of the most pervasive and omnipresent mental health problems facing our society today. Addiction disorders can be seen all around us – in extremely high rates of alcohol abuse and dependence, in tragic exposes of drug abuse in state athletes and entertainers, in reports of pathological gambling to thought and love addiction in interpersonal relationships. This increasing problem of substance abuse and dependence in our society has to be tackled with care. A lucid understanding of the underlying factors which lead to addiction – be it the self, the family, or the environment – is very important. Investigating these problems as maladaptive patterns is the growing trend and much of the  progress in this arena is dependent on it. Behaviour assessment tools like direct observation will help identify dysfunctionality and self-monitoring will encourage personal responsibility to tackle the issue. Individual lifestyles, personality disorders, and their roles are all going to be under the scanner in the future by means of behaviour assessment ideally. However, perhaps, escalating costs and the current climate of managed healthcare do not support the tenet. Over the last two decades, research devoted to direct observation and self-monitoring procedures has declined dramatically. This trend has been mirrored by a rapid proliferation of questionnaires and studies scanning their psychometric properties. The goal of more efficient and cost effective healthcare has created special for engaging viable and quick forms of assessment and treatment. Unfortunately, psychophysiological recording equipment for top class assessment is too expensive and financially non-viable for most clinicians to afford and maintain. The job of training and hiring trained observers is also expensive.Even when participant observers are used, the demands are not very viable to be met. Although self-monitoring is more cost-effective, time is a crucial factor and it is very time-consuming. Thus, there is a growing trend towards making redundant more direct methods of behavioural assessments. The trend is towards efficiency. Instead of inefficient methods, rapid assessment is going to be the flavour of the future. Brief, easily administered and easily handled cost-effective tools like questionnaires and rating scales are gaining ground. There is also a need to determine if data from these sources facilitate more efficient and/or effective treatment.

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