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How We Develop Our Tests & Quizzes

Psych Central has been a provider of online, self-scoring free screening quizzes since 2000. Our quizzes are developed internally by John M. Grohol, Psy.D., the founder and editor-in-chief of Psych Central, and then coded by our developers. Dr. Grohol was one of the pioneers in the use of online screening quizzes, first developing online versions of quizzes for depression, mania, and adult ADHD.

Our quiz development process is straightforward. A concern is identified that could benefit from being quantified in some manner, whether it be depression, or the strength of your relationship. A research review is conducted to determine whether researchers have already developed a quiz or test that might be adopted for such use.

If we find research that appears relevant to the concern we’re looking to address, we carefully review it and look for additional research or newer findings regarding the measurement instrument. If the research suggests some benefit to the use of such an instrument, we adopt that tool for use on our website.

Adopting takes many forms, but might include changing the wording of items, providing more detailed information about what the results might mean, developing a scoring key and legend, and using the general scoring guidelines and cutoffs identified in the research. We may alter any of these things, based upon our own analysis and understanding of the data.

Sometimes we will also conduct an internal validation sample with the adapted test, in order to verify that our scoring and changes are psychometrically consistent with the original measure. Because these types of quizzes are an adaptation of an assessment measure, they do not necessarily carry the same psychometric properties of the original measure they are based upon.

While we try to minimize the changes we make to a measure while adapting it for online use, we acknowledge that most of these measures cannot be used as drop-in replacements for the original assessment measure upon which they are based.

Other times, we find no adequate test or assessment in the research, and develop our own instead. For instance, our current ADHD test is simply based upon the current diagnostic criteria (from the DSM-5) that are used by a professional to diagnose ADHD. While these are not diagnostic tests, they can help a person concerned about a set of symptoms the information and confidence to talk to a professional about their symptoms and concerns.

All of our scoring technology is proprietary, but consistent with scientific methods commonly used in research studies.

Screening quizzes are not diagnostic tests, nor can they provide you with a diagnosis. The only person who can provide you with a diagnosis is a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other fully-qualified mental health professional. It is generally not beneficial for you to identify a diagnosis ahead of time, and then go to a doctor telling them you believe you have that diagnosis. Instead, we encourage you to identify symptoms of concern to your doctor that are having a significant impact in your daily life. A valid and reliable diagnosis can only be made in partnership with your doctor or mental health professional.

We believe in the importance and value of screening quizzes, and their place in understanding mental health concerns. Screening quizzes help in the effort to reduce the stigma, prejudice, and discrimination people who have mental health concerns often suffer from in silence because others believe their symptoms aren’t “real.” Mental disorders are real and screening quizzes help identify serious, life-changing symptoms of concern in people who might not otherwise consult with a mental health professional.