Advertisement

Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 108–120 | Cite as

Identifying Psychosocial Problems Among Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System Using the PSC-17: Exploring Convergent and Discriminant Validity with Multiple Informants

  • Elizabeth M. ParkerEmail author
  • Jedediah Jacobson
  • Michael D. Pullmann
  • Suzanne E. U. Kerns
Original Article

Abstract

Youth who enter foster care are at risk of mental health need, but questions arise as to the validity of their self-reported symptomatology. This study examines the screening validity of the youth-report version of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 (PSC-17) in a child welfare population. Data come from 2389 youth who completed a version of the PSC-17 adapted for youth report, and their biological and foster parents who completed the parent-report version. Youth also completed a shortened version of the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED). Convergent and discriminant validity of the PSC-17 was assessed using multi-trait multi-method matrices. The PSC-17’s internalizing subscale was strongly correlated, attention subscale was moderately correlated, and externalizing subscale was weakly correlated with the SCARED’s anxiety and PTSD subscales. Comparing youth and foster parent scores, the PSC-17 had moderate convergent validity and weak/fair discriminant validity. Comparing youth, foster parent, and biological parent scores, the PSC-17 had moderate convergent validity and weak/fair discriminant validity. The current study provides some support for the validity of the PSC-17 for the population of youth in foster care.

Keywords

Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 Parent-youth agreement Child welfare Psychosocial screening 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau (HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CO-0279).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

References

  1. 1.
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Children’s Bureau (2016) The AFCARS Report. 1–6Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Finkelhor D, Turner H, Ormrod R, Hamby SL (2009) Violence, abuse, and crime exposure in a national sample of children and youth. Pediatrics 124(5):1411–1423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Greeson JKP, Briggs EC, Kisiel CL, Layne CM, Ake GS, Ko SJ et al (2011) Complex trauma and mental health in children and adolescents placed in foster care: findings from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Child Welfare 90(6):91Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hurlburt MS, Leslie LK, Landsverk J, Barth RP, Burns BJ, Gibbons RD et al (2004) Contextual predictors of mental health service use among children open to child welfare. Arch Gen Psychiatry 61(12):1217–1224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bellis MA, Hughes K, Leckenby N, Perkins C, Lowey H (2014) National household survey of adverse childhood experiences and their relationship with resilience to health-harming behaviors in England. BMC Med 12:72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    McMillen JC, Zima BT, Scott Jr LD, Auslander WF, Munson MR, Ollie MT, Spitznagel EL (2005) Prevalence of psychiatric disorders among older youths in the foster care system. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 44(1):88–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pilowsky DJ, Wu L-T (2006) Psychiatric symptoms and substance use disorders in a nationally representative sample of American adolescents involved with foster care. J Adolesc Health 38(4):351–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Yampolskaya S, Sharrock P, Armstrong MI, Strozier A, Swanke J (2014) Profile of children placed in out-of-home care: association with permanency outcomes. Child Youth Serv Rev 36:195–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Akin BA (2011) Predictors of foster care exits to permanency: a competing risks analysis of reunification, guardianship, and adoption. Child Youth Serv Rev 33(6):999–1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Koh E, Rolock N, Cross TP, Eblen-Manning J (2013) What explains instability in foster care? Comparison of a matched sample of children with stable and unstable placements. Child Youth Serv Rev 37:36–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    James S (2004) Predictors of outpatient mental health service use—the role of foster care placement change. Ment Health Serv Res 6(3):127–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Raghavan R, Zima BT, Andersen RM, Leibowitz AA, Schuster MA, Landsverk J (2005) Psychotropic medication use in a national probability sample of children in the child welfare system. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 15(1):97–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Halemba G, Siegel G (2011) Doorways to Delinquency: multi-system involvement of delinquent youth in King County. National Center for Juvenile Justice, PittsburghGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hayek M, Mackie TI, Mule CM, Bellonci C, Hyde J, Bakan JS, Leslie LK (2014) A multi-state study on mental health evaluation for children entering foster care. Adm Policy Ment Health 41(4):552–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kerns SEU, Pullmann MD, Negrete A, Uomoto JA, Berliner L, Shogren D et al (2016) Development and implementation of a child welfare workforce strategy to build a trauma-informed system of support for foster care. Child Maltreat 21(2):135–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kerns SEU, Pullmann MD, Putnam B, Buher A, Holland S, Berliner L et al (2014) Child welfare and mental health: facilitators of and barriers to connecting children and youths in out-of-home care with effective mental health treatment. Child Youth Serv Rev 46(0):315–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    McCrae JS, Brown SM (2017) Systematic review of social–emotional screening instruments for young children in child welfare. Res Soc Work Pract 104973151668669Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gardner W, Murphy M, Childs G, Kelleher K, Pagano M, Jellinek M et al (1999) The PSC-17: a brief pediatric symptom checklist with psychosocial problem subscales. Ambul Child Health 5(3):225–236Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry (2018) Pediatric symptom checklist, 2018, from https://www.massgeneral.org/psychiatry/services/psc_forms.aspx
  20. 20.
    Gardner W, Lucas A, Kolko DJ, Campo JV (2007) Comparison of the PSC-17 and alternative mental health screens in an at-risk primary care sample. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 46(5):611–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jellinek MS, Murphy J, Little M, Pagano ME, Comer DM, Kelleher KJ (1999) Use of the pediatric symptom checklist to screen for psychosocial problems in pediatric primary care: a national feasibility study. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 153(3):254–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Dorsey S, Kerns SEU, Trupin EW, Conover KL, Berliner L (2012) Child welfare caseworkers as service brokers for youth in foster care. Child Maltreat 17(1):22–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pelham W, Murphy D, Milich R, Murphy H (1989) Normative data on the IOWA Conners teacher rating scale. J Chil Child Psychol 18(1989):259–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kostanecka A, Power T, Clarke A, Watkins M, Hausman C, Blum N (2008) Behavioral health screening in urban primary care settings: construct validity of the PSC-17. J Dev Behav Pediatr 29(2):124–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Briggs-Gowan M, Carter A, Schwab-Stone M (1996) Discrepancies among mother, child, and teacher reports: examining the contributions of maternal depression and anxiety. J Abnorm Child Psychol 24(6):749–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Duke N, Ireland M, Borowsky IW (2005) Identifying psychosocial problems among youth: factors associated with youth agreement on a positive parent-completed PSC-17. Child: Care Health Dev 31:563–573Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Masters JC, Achenbach TM, McConaughy SH, Howell CT (1987) Child/adolescent behavioral and emotional problems: implications of cross-informant correlations for situational specificity. Psychol Bull 101(2):213–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Darlington Y, Feeney JA, Rixon K (2005) Interagency collaboration between child protection and mental health services: practices, attitudes and barriers. Child Abuse Negl 29(10):1085–1098CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Chi T, Hinshaw S (2002) Mother–child relationships of children with ADHD: the role of maternal depressive symptoms and depression-related distortions. J Abnorm Child Psychol 30(4):387–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mineka S, Frick PJ, O’Brien BS, Wootton JM, McBurnett K (1994) Psychopathy and conduct problems in children. J Abnorm Psychol 103(4):700–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Seiffge-Krenke I, Kollmar F (1998) Discrepancies between mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of sons’ and daughters’ problem behaviour: a longitudinal analysis of parent-adolescent agreement on internalising and externalising problem behaviour. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 39(5):687–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Tarren-Sweeney MJ, Hazell PL, Carr VJ (2004) Are foster parents reliable informants of children’s behaviour problems? Child Care Health Dev 30(2):167–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Pagano ME, Cassidy LJ, Little M, Murphy JM, Jellinek MS (2000) Identifying psychosocial dysfunction in school-age children: the pediatric symptom checklist as a self-report method. Psychol Sch 37(2):91–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kerns S, Pullmann MD, Putnam B, Payton L, Buher A, Holland S et al (2014) Child welfare and mental health: facilitators and barriers of connecting children and youth in out-of-home care with effective mental health treatment. Child Youth Serv Rev 46:315–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Birmaher B, Brent DA, Chiappetta L, Bridge J, Monga S, Baugher M (1999) Psychometric properties of the screen for child anxiety related emotional disorders (SCARED): a replication study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 38(10):1230–1236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Muris P, Merckelbach H, Korver P, Meesters C (2000) SCARED brief assessment of anxiety and PTS symptoms (ages 7–17)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    IBM Corp (2010) IBM SPSS statistics for windows (Version 19.0). ArmonkGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Williams EJ (1959) The comparison of regression variables. J R Stat Soc B 21(2):396–399Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Feinstein AR, Cicchetti DV (1990) High agreement but low kappa: I. The problems of two paradoxes. J Clin Epidemiol 43:543–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Banerjee M, Capozzoli M, McSweeney L, Sinha D (1999) Beyond kappa: a review of interrater agreement measures. Can J Stat 27(1):3–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Hutchinson TP (1993) Kappa muddles together two sources of disagreement: tetrachoric correlation is preferable. Res Nurs Health 16(4):313–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Becker S, Marshall S, McBurnett K (2014) Sluggish cognitive tempo in abnormal child psychology: an historical overview and introduction to the special section. J Abnorm Child Psychol 42(1):1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Cohen J (1960) A coefficients of agreement for nominal scales. Edu Psychol Meas 20:37–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Kuhn C, Aebi M, Jakobsen H, Banaschewski T, Poustka L, Grimmer Y et al (2017) Effective mental health screening in adolescents: should we collect data from youth, parents or both? Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 48(3):385–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    De Los Reyes A, Kazdin AE (2005) Informant discrepancies in the assessment of childhood psychopathology: a critical review, theoretical framework, and recommendations for further study. Psychol Bull 131(4):483–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Trout AL, Hoffman S, Epstein MH, Thompson RW (2014) Family teacher and parent perceptions of youth needs and preparedness for transition upon discharge from residential care. J Soc Work 14(6):594–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Becker A, Hagenberg N, Roessner V, Woerner W, Rothenberger A (2004) Evaluation of the self-reported SDQ in a clinical setting: do self-reports tell us more than ratings by adult informants? Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 13(2):ii17–ii24Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Sawyer MG, Baghurst P, Mathias J (1992) Differences between informants’ reports describing emotional and behavioural problems in community and clinic-referred children: a research note. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 33(2):441–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Jee SH, Szilagyi M, Conn A-M, Nilsen W, Toth S, Baldwin CD, Szilagyi PG (2011) Validating office-based screening for psychosocial strengths and difficulties among youths in foster care. Pediatrics 127(5):904CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth M. Parker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jedediah Jacobson
    • 1
  • Michael D. Pullmann
    • 1
  • Suzanne E. U. Kerns
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of Denver Graduate School of Social WorkDenverUSA

Personalised recommendations