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30-06-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2017 Open Access

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 3/2017

Effective Mental Health Screening in Adolescents: Should We Collect Data from Youth, Parents or Both?

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 3/2017
Christine Kuhn, Marcel Aebi, Helle Jakobsen, Tobias Banaschewski, Luise Poustka, Yvonne Grimmer, Robert Goodman, Hans-Christoph Steinhausen
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10578-016-0665-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Youth- and parent-rated screening measures derived from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and Development and Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA) were compared on their psychometric properties as predictors of caseness in adolescence (mean age 14). Successful screening was judged firstly against the likelihood of having an ICD-10 psychiatric diagnosis and secondly by the ability to discriminate between community (N = 252) and clinical (N = 86) samples (sample status). Both, SDQ and DAWBA measures adequately predicted the presence of an ICD-10 disorder as well as sample status. The hypothesis that there was an informant gradient was confirmed: youth self-reports were less discriminating than parent reports, whereas combined parent and youth reports were more discriminating—a finding replicated across a diversity of measures. When practical constraints only permit screening for caseness using either a parent or an adolescent informant, parents are the better source of information.

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