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Use of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as an outcome measure in a child and adolescent mental health service

Authors


  • John Mathai

    Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Royal Children's Hospital Mental Health Service, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

    Peter Anderson

    Psychologist, Royal Children's Hospital Mental Health Service, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

    Angela Bourne

    Research Assistant, Royal Children's Hospital Mental Health Service, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

Dr John Mathai, Royal Children's Hospital Mental Health Service, Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia. Email: john.mathai@rch.org.au

Abstract

Objective: To examine the usefulness of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) as an outcome measure for patients referred to a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

Methods: This was a prospective study of new CAMHS attendees. Questionnaires were completed by clinicians, parents, teachers and children (if aged 11 years or older) at initial attendance and after approximately 6 months.

Results: At 6-month follow up, positive change was detected on the SDQ. There was a significant reduction in the ‘total difficulties’ score as rated by parents, teachers and children. This positive change corresponded to a sig­nificant reduction in the clinician-rated Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA) scores. Furthermore, there were lowered levels of perceived difficulties and burden on the SDQ impact sup­plement, and a decrease in the overall impact score.

Conclusion: The SDQ is a useful outcome measure. The HoNOSCA and SDQ complement each other because they provide measures of change from the clinician, the parent and the child.

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