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Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC)

From: Concurrent Substance Use and Mental Health Problems in Youth: Screening for Concurrent Substance Use and Mental Health Problems in Youth (© 2009, CAMH)


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Brief description

The Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) screens for psychosocial problems. It was developed for use in health care settings but its application has been extended to other care settings (e.g., preventative child health services, school-based health services, nursery schools) and general population in the community. In community settings it has been used as a measure of unmet need for mental health services. The original 35-item version was intended to raise a red flag about any psychosocial problem that warranted further investigation. A shorter version, the PSC-17, is organized around subscales derived from psychometric analysis. These scales are focused on internalizing, attention and externalizing problems. The use of the long version will depend on the objectives of the screening process and other contextual factors.

Appropriate target populations

Children between the ages of 4 and 16. Clinical as well as community samples.

Administration options

Parent answers the questionnaire based on his or her observations of the child.

Format(s) available

_X_ self-administered (paper-and-pencil)

___ self-administered (computer)

_X_ clinician-administered

Time required

Less than five minutes.

Languages available

_X_ English

___ French

_X_ Other (Spanish, Dutch)

Accessibility and cost

_X_ no charge for use

___ use requires permission of test developer

___ use requires special training and/or professional or academic credentials

___ fee for use

Where to access

For more information see the test developer's website:

Summary of test development data

Quality of reporting

High, based on STARD rating (see Appendix, p.76).

Summary of validity and reliability data

High, largely on the basis of the scope and strength of the validity and reliability data for both the original scale and the shorter PSC-17 from a variety of settings and age ranges.