1 Department of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Early detection of behavioral and emotional problems in children and adolescents is relevant. For this purpose, the use of questionnaires completed by parents is applicable. Parent questionnaires are also useful preliminary support to the clinical investigation.
Validated tools for the analysis of behavioral and emotional problems suitable for school-age subjects are analyzed in their characteristics and possibilities of use.
The following are the main characteristics of the instruments examined. The Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory 4&5, Parent Checklist (CASI-4&5) and Behavior Assessment System For Children - Parent Rating Scales 2&3 (BASC-2&3) include a high number of questions, with exploration extended to almost all possible pathologies.
The Child Behavior Check-List (CBCL) has less items (113), but only 48 refer to DSM pathologies. The use of CASI, BASC and CBCL carries a cost because they are copyrighted.
The Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) has 35 items, but only 17 have a reference to 3 clinical areas. The Strength & Difficulties Questionnaire (SDA) is very short (25 items) and concerns only the main externalizing and internalizing disorders. The Child and Adolescent Behavior Inventory (CABI) has 75 items and explores a wide range of psycho-pathological issues, likewise CASI and BASC. PSC, SDA and CABI can be used free of charge.
The comparison of the characteristics of the aforementioned questionnaires can guide the psychiatrist and the epidemiologist in choosing the most suitable tool for what is proposed to be assessed, in relation to practicability, extension of the areas explored and costs.
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