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Outcome Measures for Young Children
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4/28/2020 at 4:37:41 AM GMT
Posts: 11
Outcome Measures for Young Children

What kinds of outcome tools are people using for children under 12? Specifically for anxiety and depression.


We use the PSC-17 and collect it at every BHC visit. 


I used the SCARED for anxiety. Spoke to the developer who said the subscales can be utilized by diagnosis (GAD, Social Anxiety, etc) for measuring progress and outcomes.


Hey Shanda! 

I’m glad you asked this question as we are thinking about shuffling around some of our measures ourselves.  We just finished writing up a manuscript on the difficulties in measurement-based care for children given their rapid development often requiring different measures for the same conditions and the complexity involved with having multiple-informants which is often important in the assessment of children. 

Here is where we are at with anxiety and depression under 12:


Spence Preschool for young children:

SCARED for school-aged children: (make sure you grab the scoring excel sheet, makes scoring SO much easier)


We were using the CDI, but are likely switching to publically available measures either:

CES-DC (6-17):


MFQ (6-19): 

The RCADS and subscales are also pretty good options and we have been considering due to number of languages available:

Hope that helps, looking forward to continuing this discussion.  Sounds like this might be a great topic for the PEDS SIG for either a quicknotes or facilitated discussion during one of our monthly calls.


In case it’s helpful, our lab just published a review of 37 different freely-available, validated measures for the most common youth MH problems:

Andrews, J. H., Cho, E., Tugendrajch, S. K., Marriott, B. R., & Hawley, K. M. (2020). Evidence-based assessment tools for common mental health problems: A practical guide for school settings. Children & Schools, 42(1), 41–52.

We modeled it as an update and extension of Beidas and colleagues 2015 review of free, brief, and validated measures; with a narrower scope of target problems and ages, but greater attention to practical features like Cody highlighted (available languages, scoring and training tools, etc.) that often matter most when deciding which measure will really meet your needs. It was published in a special issue of a school social work journal, so the text emphasizes school-based applications, but the core information is equally applicable to primary care or any other context.

To make it easier to access and compare the different measures, we also compiled copies of as many of them as we could plus their manuals, scoring instructions, etc. in a google drive folder accessible here:

I’m happy to share the full article backchannel with anyone who’d like a copy. Feedback and questions are always welcome as well :)


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