Copyright

Global Assessment Of Functioning (GAF): Scale & Overview

Instructor: Chevette Alston

Dr. Alston has taught intro psychology, child psychology, and developmental psychology at 2-year and 4-year schools.

This lesson briefly describes the Global Assessment of Functioning, or GAF, and how it is used to rate a person's overall level of mental health during a diagnostic interview.

What Is a GAF?

GAF is an acronym for Global Assessment of Functioning. The GAF is a psychological rating scale that ranges from 0 to 100. Higher scores indicate greater levels of functioning. The most favorable mental health functioning is represented by scores that range from 91 to 100. Those with minor psychological problems are rated in the 71 to 90 range of functioning. Severe mental health concerns fall in the 21 to 30 range. Ratings that range from 1 to 10 are reserved for those who are persistently suicidal or people who are incapable of meeting minimal standards of personal care. A GAF rating is a standard part of all psychiatric/psychological diagnoses. The GAF score is often given on Axis V of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual's multi-axial diagnostic system.

Psi

Axis V (Overall Level of Functioning)

Axis V is where a clinician gives his or her impression of the client's overall level of functioning. This level of functioning is measured by matching information about the client's overall level of functioning with descriptions on the GAF Scale. Social history information is used to make this judgment and is obtained from the diagnostic interview with the client and from the results of psychological testing. Most people who need therapy for psychological problems will not be rated at the top of the GAF scale.

It is often useful to make a basis of comparison between the client's current GAF and his or her GAF at a time when he or she was functioning better. Clinicians often try to figure out what the highest GAF was within the past year because a therapy goal will be to restore the client's functioning to at least the highest level of functioning achieved within the last year. The GAF Scale is summarized below and is for lesson purposes only.

The Global Assessment of Functioning Scale

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member

Already a member? Log In

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 100 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,900 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring.
You've watched a video! Check out the next video or take the quiz to keep learning.
Getting a perfect score on a quiz is how you earn course progress. If you aced it, great job! If not, try again.
You now have full access to our lessons and courses, watch the lesson now or keep exploring.
You just finished your first lesson. Study.com has thousands of lessons to help you meet your educational goals.
You're making great progress. Keep it up!
Congrats on viewing 10 lessons! You're doing great.
Getting a perfect score on a quiz is how you earn course progress. If you aced it, great job! If not, try again.
You're getting the hang of this! Keep taking quizzes to make progress on your learning goals.
Look how far you've come! Take all the quizzes in a chapter and you'll master this topic in no time.
Keep clicking that 'next lesson' button whenever you finish a lesson and its quiz.
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate and you'll be done before you know it.
Two days in a row, nice! Keep your streak going to get the most of your learning and reach your goal faster.