The use of a comprehensive biopsychosocial framework for intake assessment in mental health practice

Lari Meyer, Marquette University


The biopsychosocial (BPS) framework is an approach that emphasizes the importance of a systemic view of the individual and an integration of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors on human development and functioning. A BPS approach has been illustrated to be useful in the treatment of a number of disorders including depression, anxiety, addictions, as well as various chronic medical disorders. The BPS approach has also been considered to be an important part of various mental health training programs for many years, and has been endorsed by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Even though it has been widely endorsed as a useful approach to mental health and medical practice, there has been relatively little empirical examination of the use of a BPS approach in actual practice. As a result, the primary purposes of this study were to investigate which components of the BPS framework therapists included during intake assessments and initial sessions with clients in practice, and how thoroughly these components were assessed, including whether these components were addressed in terms of strengths and deficits. This study also investigated which factors, including multiaxial DSM-IV-TR diagnosis and client demographic characteristics, related to more detailed and thorough assessments. Results indicated clinicians thoroughly assess many BPS components on a regular basis, but tend to assess strengths and deficits less frequently. Based on the documentation from the participating clinicians, results also indicated clinicians do not regularly integrate assessed BPS information into comprehensive initial treatment with clients. In addition, more comprehensive and detailed BPS intake forms were associated with more detailed and comprehensive BPS assessments by clinicians. More research is needed to investigate whether individual characteristics of the clinician, level of structure of the intake forms, and type and location of the mental health agency impact clinicians' BPS assessments.

Recommended Citation

Meyer, Lari, "The use of a comprehensive biopsychosocial framework for intake assessment in mental health practice" (2008). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3326743.