ICF Core Sets for Schizophrenia Validated by International Cohort of Psychiatrists

The Core Sets may offer an effective framework for describing functioning and disability in individuals with schizophrenia.

From the perspective of psychiatrists, the content set forth by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) presents a valid framework for describing the extent of the schizophrenic condition, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

The study investigators distributed a 3-round email survey to elicit the perspective of 352 psychiatrists from 63 countries who had treated individuals with schizophrenia for 2 or more years. The questionnaires were designed using the Delphi method, and the participating psychiatrists had no initial experience with the ICF classification system. A total of 303 psychiatrists completed all 3 rounds.

First-round responses were linked to the relevant ICF categories: more than 7000 concepts of schizophrenia were described that related to 387 ICF categories and 35 personal factors. By the third round, the psychiatrists participating in the study reached consensus (defined as ≥75% agreement) on 91 ICF categories and 31 personal factors. Only 4 of the 91 categories were not included in the ICF Core Set for schizophrenia, and 10 categories included in the Core Set did not yield agreement among participants. Concepts related to personal factors were not linked to any current ICF categories for schizophrenia; yet as they influence functioning and clinical intervention planning, they were further included in the surveys.

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Study results suggest strong support for the content validity of the ICF Core Set as a tool for describing functioning and disability in individuals with schizophrenia in clinical practice. 


Nuño L, Barrios M, Rojo E, Gómez-Benito J, Guilera G. Validation of the ICF Core Set for schizophrenia from the perspective of psychiatrists: an international Delphi study. J Psychiatr Res. 2018; 103:134-141.