Use of a Psychosocial Screen to Detect Children With Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Exploratory Study

Deborah P. Steinbaum, Claude Chemtob, Joseph A. Boscarino, Danielle Laraque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the parent and youth versions of the 17-item Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC-17) for identifying children with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Methods: Cross-sectional convenience samples of children aged 8 to 10 years treated at a primary care pediatrics practice in New York City were recruited. The PSC-17 and its 5-item internalizing subscale were used in both parent- and youth-completed formats. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were identified with the University of California, Los Angeles posttraumatic stress reaction index (UCLA RI), used as a structured interview with the child. Results: One hundred fifty-six children enrolled in the study. Twenty-two percent of children met the UCLA RI cutoff for likely PTSD. The youth version of the PSC-17 and its 5-item internalizing subscale identified these children with sensitivities of 78% and 75% and specificities of 77% and 77%, respectively, relative to the UCLA RI. The parent version of the PSC-17 and the internalizing subscale had poorer sensitivities of 44% and 25% and similar specificities of 79% and 92%, respectively. Conclusions: Symptoms of PTSD can be identified using the youth self-report version of the PSC-17. A 5-item subscale of the PSC-17 also performed well and can readily be used in primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-35
Number of pages4
JournalAmbulatory Pediatrics
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • Pediatric Symptom Checklist
  • mental health
  • primary care

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