Juvenile Assessment Using the YSR: Moving Beyond the Standard Internalizing/Externalizing Dichotomy

Elizabeth Conniff, University of California - Riverside
Olivia Seheult, University of California - Riverside

Current research using the Youth Self Report instrument tends to classify adolescents into one of two categories: internalizing thoughts and behaviors versus externalizing thoughts and behaviors. Although this has been an informative approach, focusing on these two areas is limiting. Children who do not by current standards fit within one of the two broad categories of internalizing/externalizing may not be acknowledged as needing help when they indeed do. For example, when the YSR was revised in 2001, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and Schizophrenia were eliminated when they could have been either assessed independently or subsumed under other categories. Our presentation will use data from 500 YSRs gathered as part of the Presley Center's PREP project. A quantitative factor analysis combined with DSM definitions of OCD and Schizophrenia will suggest that these are significant issues that need to be addressed. In addition, data will be presented to show the importance of a qualitative approach in acknowledging and responding to comments written by the adolescents on the YSR.

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Updated 05/20/2006