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The validation of an Australian sign language instrument for outcome measurement of adults in mental health settings

journal contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by L Munro, John Rodwell
Objective: There are currently no adult mental health outcome measures that have been translated into Australian sign language (Auslan). Without a valid and reliable Auslan outcome measure, empirical research into the efficacy of mental health interventions for sign language users is unattainable. To address this research problem the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS), a measure of general functioning, was translated into Auslan and recorded on to digital video disk for use in clinical settings. The purpose of the present study was therefore to examine the reliability, validity and acceptability of an Auslan version of the ORS (ORS-Auslan).
The ORS-Auslan was administered to 44 deaf people who use Auslan as their first language and who identify as members of a deaf community (termed ‘Deaf’ people) on their first presentation to a mental health or counselling facility and to 55 Deaf people in the general community. The community sample also completed an Auslan version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21).
Results: t-Tests indicated significant differences between the mean scores for the clinical and community sample. Internal consistency was acceptable given the low number of items in the ORS-Auslan. Construct validity was established by significant correlations between total scores on the DASS-21-Auslan and ORS-Auslan. Acceptability of ORS-Auslan was evident in the completion rate of 93% compared with 63% for DASS-21-Auslan.
Conclusions: This is the only Auslan outcome measure available that can be used across a wide variety of mental health and clinical settings. The ORS-Auslan provides mental health clinicians with a reliable and valid, brief measure of general functioning that can significantly distinguish between clinical and non-clinical presentations for members of the Deaf community.



Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry






332 - 339


Informa Healthcare


[Carlton, Vic.]







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists