The authors reviewed 21 studies assessing housing preferences of mental
health consumers to examine current methods of assessment, to obtain
information on the reliability and validity of the assessment instruments
used, and to determine whether a better approach to assessing preferences
might be found. The review found little data on the reliability or validity
of the assessment instruments and revealed heavy reliance on the use of
fixed-choice questions that limit consumer expression of preferences.
Responses to such questions can be misleading because they may or may not
reflect real-life constraints, such as preferring a roommate only because
living alone is not affordable. However, the authors believe the factorial
survey model, which uses vignettes to present different combinations and
characteristics of living arrangements, may allow investigators to better
understand consumers' true preferences. They propose creating and pilot
testing an instrument using such vignettes.