Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials

Identifying and Validating a Core Public Mental Health Outcome Set

General Information

In contrast to the wealth of psychometric evidence for individual measures of mental ill-health at both symptom and diagnosis (syndrome) level, we know little about the best way to measure mental health (including both positive and negative mental health states) at the population level. The project aims to develop, validate and agree a suite of core outcomes sets appropriate for use in evaluative public mental health research. The work forms part of a School for Public Health Research (SPHR) integrated programme to address determinants of poor public mental health and improve outcomes.

Project lead: Scott Weich (ScHARR, University of Sheffield)
Joe Hulin (ScHARR, University of Sheffield)
Clara Mukuria (ScHARR, University of Sheffield)
Anju Keetharuth (ScHARR, University of Sheffield)
Abby Constantine (ScHARR, University of Sheffield)
Tessa Peasgood (ScHARR, University of Sheffield)
Judi Kidger (University of Bristol)
David Osborn (UCL)
Kate Walters (UCL)
Jennifer Dykxhoorn (UCL)
Eileen Kaner (Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health)
Sheena Ramsey (Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health)
Liam Spencer (Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health)
Vanessa Pinfold (McPin Foundation)

Further Study Information

Current Stage:
January 2019 - June 2021
Funding source(s):
NIHR School for Public Health Research

Health Area

Disease Category
Mental health
Public health

Disease Name

Target Population

Age Range
18 - 120


Nature / type of Intervention


Consensus meeting
Delphi process
Systematic review

The work includes the following five work streams:

WS1: Protocol development
Details of the study finalised in accordance with COMET guidance and agreed with stakeholders.

WS2: Evidence synthesis
A systematic review of public mental health outcomes will be undertaken. We will aim to include content analysis, methods for scoring and analysing data, prior application and psychometric properties at individual and population levels. We will initially seek to identify the domains which should be covered by public mental health outcomes.

WS3: Stakeholder consultation
Stakeholder consultation events will take place throughout the project to reach consensus on the key aspects of public mental health that should be measured in the core outcome set and reach agreement on the how these will be measured. We will work closely with SPHR colleagues delivering a related work package and the McPin Foundation in recruiting key stakeholders. The stakeholder group will include members of the public, public health practitioners, policy makers, commissioners and researchers.

WS4: Mapping routine data sources
We will identify existing data resources to determine if and how the core outcomes identified can be accessed in routine sources.

WS5: Dissemination
We will recommend a suite of public health outcome measures, stratified according to the types of intervention they are suited to evaluating and including a core public mental health outcome set.

Stakeholders Involved

Clinical experts
Consumers (patients)
Patient/ support group representatives
Service providers
Service users

Study Type

COS for clinical trials or clinical research
COS for practice

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