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Information about the CORE-OM

The CORE-OM (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation – Outcome Measure) was the central measure in the CORE system, linking with the CORE-A: the complementary practitioner completed context setting tools to provide what we hoped would be a sound core for evaluation of change in psychological therapies.

The CORE-OM has 34 items, all with the same five level response choice, and covers the last seven days.  It was designed, and this was led partly by the commissioning specification, to cover four main domains: wellbeing, problems, functioning and risk and has 4, 12, 12 and 6 items focused on those domains respectively.  Of the risk items, four address risk to self and two address risk to others.  Overall, 18 items were “tuned high” and 16 tuned to a lower range of disturbance/distress.  Eight items are positively cued and reverse scored.  The scores on the domains can be reported separately but were never intended to address, and psychometrically have never formed, measurement of orthogonal or very distinct dimensions or factors of variance in any populations.  In every sample explored so far, the risk items are, predictably, relatively distinct from the other items forming a very clearly separable response space from that covered by the other items.  The “non-risk” score of the 28 items other than the risk items forms a good aggregate score if the risk issues are to be separated but most studies report the total score.

The original scoring was the mean across the items, i.e. between 0 and 4 as the scoring of the item responses is from 0 to 4, more recently, to require fewer decimal places, scores have often been reported after multiplying that by ten.  Caution should be used to make sure whether results are reported with that x10 multiplier though it is rarely likely that results can be confused as to scoring.  Occasionally, and not in line with any recommendations from the CORE teams over the years, people report total scores with a theoretical range, for all 34 items, from zero to 136, again, there should be no difficulty identifying when this scoring has been used.

Slightly harder to identify can be what the practitioners or researchers have done about missing items.  We recommend prorating up to 10% missing items, so a total score can be reported as the mean across up to 31 items, the non-risk score on up to 26 and the problems and functioning scores as the means across 11 of the items on those domains.  Prorating is not recommended for shorter scores (i.e. for the wellbeing and risk scores).  It is very rare that so many items are omitted that even a prorated total score cannot be reported.


The main references to the CORE-OM are as follows.


Download the English language PDF of the CORE-OM using link below, for other languages, go to Translations page.

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