• The clinical use of Subjective Units of Distress scales (SUDs) in child mental health assessments: A thematic evaluation.

      Kiyimba, Nikki; O’Reilly, Michelle; Karim, Khalid; University of Chester; University of Leicester (Taylor & Francis, 2017-07-04)
      Background: Despite the ubiquitous use of Subjective Units of Distress scales (SUDs) in mental health settings to establish levels of distressing emotion, there has been little empirical research in this area. SUDs are commonly used in therapy and assessments, and are a particularly useful tool for establishing current and previous levels of distress in children and young people. Aims: To explore the use of the SUD analogue rating scale in initial child mental health assessments to better understand its application in this context. Method: The data corpus consisted of 28 naturally-occurring video recordings of children and young people attending their first assessment appointment at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). A thematic analysis was utilised to explore the specific interactional use of SUDs. Results: Four themes were identified; recency, longevity, context and miscommunication. The first three themes were found to supplement the child’s emotional score on the scale and were important in establishing the necessity for further therapeutic support. Miscommunication as a theme highlighted the need for clarity when using SUDs with children and young people. Conclusions: Recommendations were suggested for practitioners working with children and young people relating to the extended use of rating scales in clinical assessments.