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Baseline Functioning

A major goal in clinical psychology that is common across a variety of settings is to determine if change in a variable of interest has occurred and, if so, identify why that change has occurred. This goal involves parsing apart three sources of variability: (1) measurement error, (2) extraneous variability, and (3) variability due to an intervention or experience. A necessary prerequisite for accomplishing this goal is determining a person’s baseline level of functioning.

Measuring one or more characteristics prior to an intervention or experience (in other words, conducting a baseline assessment) is necessary to determine if subsequent experiences changed the characteristic. Baseline assessment of functioning typically provides information about a person’s diagnosis, symptom level, traits, behaviors, or functioning prior to an intervention. This information allows ...

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