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Keywords:

  • screening;
  • psychosocial distress;
  • validation;
  • war;
  • children

In non-Western countries, efficient and contextually valid methods of community screening are scarce. The present study describes the validation of a new, brief, 7-item multi-informant screener for conflict-affected children (Child Psychosocial Distress Screener; CPDS). To determine concurrent validity, the CPSD was administered to 65 children and their teachers. CPDS scores were compared with indication for psychosocial treatment based on an in-depth clinical assessment by a psychiatrist and psychologist. Construct validity was assessed by testing the measurement equivalence of the CPDS in a community sample (N = 2,240) in Burundi. The CPDS identifies indication for treatment with an accurateness of .81(sensitivity of .84; specificity of .60). Test-retest reliability of the instrument is good (.83). A robust and invariant factor structure provides evidence for the construct validity of the CPSD. The CPDS appears to be a useful multidimensional tool that measures nonspecific child psychosocial distress, detecting children with an indication for treatment. Because of brevity and the ability to be administered by nonspecialists, the CPDS can be an appropriate instrument to screen large populations of conflict-affected children.