Objective. An attempt was made in the paper to review instruments used in psychiatry for the assessment of social functioning with view to their usefulness for general practitioners, clinicians and researchers.
Review. The development of effective therapeutic interventions requires the use of instruments for the assessment of social functioning and disability that would more and more reliably reflect the real-world behaviour and activity of people with mental disorders in their social environment, taking into account their local conditions and individual potential determined, among other things, by their cognitive functions. The review includes characterization of the most recent trends concerning utility of instruments for the measurement ofpsychosocial functioning and disability. The problems of questionnaire construction and characteristics (usefulness, practicality, reliability and validity) are dealt with. The paper presents studies and research projects that provided data concerning the strong and weak points of the reported assessment instruments. Moreover, the paper outlines the direction of changes in the research into functioning and disability from the historical perspective.
Conclusions. The importance of an integrated approach including the assessment of social functioning as an element of examination seems to increase. Task performance and enactment of "real-life" roles are at present regarded as crucial, since they enable to draw inferences about the individual's specific cognitive abilities and his/her personal potential.