Improving the utility of the pediatric symptom checklist for mental health screening
Manning, Amy R.
MetadataShow full item record
For over a century, public health initiatives have targeted the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents through school and community based initiatives aimed at physical health issues. Rarely, if ever, are mental health issues even part of the discussion. In the 21 st century unmet mental health needs are increasingly being identified as potential causal factors for national, community and personal tragedy and yet the stigma surrounding even the discussion of mental health still remains. Part of the issue with discussing mental health is the need for broad based screening instruments that are both reliable and valid that reduce the likelihood of Type 2 error or false negatives. This study looks at the unidimensionality of the freely available Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) and examines the potential benefits from developing and implementing a multidimensional scoring structure. Utilizing Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis the PSC is evaluated for structure and utilizing Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling a solution is confirmed. Through the use of Receiver Operator Characteristic Curves subscale scoring is evaluated and final cutoff scores are chosen. Utilizing this newly developed scoring method Type 2 error is reduced in the clinic sample by 37%. The implications for this outcome can be wide reaching. Improving the utility of a freely available instrument can increase the likelihood that a child or adolescent who is at increased risk for mental health issues receives prevention, assessment and intervention services when needed.