PhenX Measures for Mental Research Collections

In 2013, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) launched the PhenX Measures for Mental Health Research (MHR) Project with the goal of making it easier for mental health investigators to compare results and to combine data from different studies. As a result of this project, a Core Collection and two Specialty Collections were selected by the Mental Health Research Panel (MHRP) and MHR Working Groups (WGs), respectively. These collections were added to the Toolkit in December 2014.

The MHR Collections are the result of a collaborative, consensus effort by the extramural scientific community and staff members at NIMH, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and RTI International. Further details on the MHR Project can be found here.

Core Collections

The Core: Tier 1 collection includes 10 measures that are deemed relevant and essential to all areas of mental health research and require very little time to collect (see table below). Eight of the Core: Tier 1 measures are focused on demographic and socioeconomic-related measures. These measures are designed to create a common framework to facilitate cross-study data aggregation and to address questions related to the effects of factors such as age, race, and SES on relevant outcomes. The Core: Tier 1 Collection also includes brief self-report measures of both Broad Psychopathology and Impairment for both child and adult studies.

Core: Tier 2 includes 11 measures that are relevant to many areas of mental health research but are more specialized and require a greater time commitment (see table below). Core: Tier 2 measures are complementary to Core: Tier 1 and address three additional areas relevant to the vast majority of mental health-related studies: assessments of substance use, life events, and perceived stress.

When selecting measures for Core: Tier 1 and Core: Tier 2, the MHRP recognized that the measures needed to be broadly validated, reliable, appropriate for diverse populations, freely available, self-report , of low burden to investigators and respondents, and brief. The tables below provided investigators with an estimate of how much time these measures will take to administer.

Time to Complete Core: Tier 1
PhenX MeasureNumber of Questions (Adult Protocol) Time to Complete (Adult Protocol)
Current Age20:00:12
Current Marital Status 10:00:06
Current Educational Attainment10:00:14
Annual Family Income1-40:00:30
Child-Reported Educational Attainment20:00:26
Impairment (Child/adolescent protocol includes 13 questions)120:01:21
Broad Psychopathology (Child/adolescent protocol includes 25 questions)230:01:40
Total 46-500:05:09

Time to Complete Core: Tier 2
PhenX MeasureNumber of Questions (Adult Protocol) Time to Complete (Adult Protocol)
Alcohol - Lifetime Use10:00:14
Alcohol - 30-Day Quantity and Frequency1-20:00:23
Alcohol - Age of First Use10:00:14
Substances - Lifetime Use0-100:00:53
Substances - 30-Day Frequency0-110:01:00
Substances - Age of First Use0-100:00:20
Tobacco - Smoking Status 1-30:00:18
Tobacco - 30-day Quantity and Frequency 0-20:00:25
Tobacco - Age of Initiation of Use 0-20:00:20
Perceived Stress120:01:02
Life Events - Adults (Child/adolescent protocol includes 25 questions)23-690:10:00
Total 39-1230:15:09

Specialty Collections

The measures in the Suicide, Post-traumatic Stress Psychopathology (including PTSD) and Eating Disorders, Early Psychosis Clinical Services and Early Psychosis Translational Research Specialty Collections are complementary to Core: Tier 1 and Core: Tier 2 and are deemed relevant and essential within these more specialized research domains. The Suicide Specialty Collection includes measures that address suicidal ideation and/or suicide behavior as well as measures that address suicide risk and protective factors. The Post-traumatic Stress Psychopathology (including PTSD) Specialty Collection includes measures for capturing exposure to potentially traumatic events and clinically characterizing PTSD as well as measures that address moderating factors, biomarkers, and functioning and disability. The Eating Disorders Specialty Collection includes measures to assess eating disorders diagnosis, psychopathology and behaviors, psychiatric comorbidities, and relevant cognitive functional domains. The Early Psychosis Clinical Services Specialty Collection identifies standardized measures of diagnosis, symptoms, functioning, treatment interventions, and recovery outcomes. The Early Psychosis Translational Research Specialty Collection recommends specific approaches for anatomical imaging and cognitive assessment.