Clinical and statistical prediction: A five and ten year follow-up study of adolescents in a residential treatment center

David Goldstein, Pace University


The purposes of this study was to explore the issue of statistical versus clinical prediction and to examine variables that are predictive of future psychological adjustment. The population consisted of adolescents who were discharged from placement at a residential treatment center between the years of 1977 and 1978 and the years of 1982 and 1983. Detailed follow up interviews were conducted in order to determine the current adjustment of these individuals. Twenty-five cases were used in this study. The clinical staff at the same residential treatment center was asked to make assessments of current functioning based on past case record material. Demographic and "factual" data was used to determine its utility in making accurate predictions. Both methods of prediction were compared to determine their relative utility and accuracy when used in conjunction as well as separately. Additionally, variables that have strong predictive validity by themselves or in combination with other variables were delineated. Results of this study indicated that the statistical method had more predictive value than the clinical method when predicting future adjustment. Subsets of statistical (demographic) data contributed significantly toward the prediction of Overall Psychological Health of the former resident. Intelligence proved to be a very powerful variable in predicting future success in many Outcome Domains. This study identified some variables and strategies that are most efficient in making accurate predictions of outcome. With this knowledge, clinicians will be better able to meet the needs of their clients. Another contribution of this study was to further address the issue of Statistical versus Clinical prediction. Although no definitive answer as to which method is more accurate is possible, this study addressed some of the provocative issues that have surrounded this question for decades.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Goldstein, David, "Clinical and statistical prediction: A five and ten year follow-up study of adolescents in a residential treatment center" (1991). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9127802.



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