Aims. To evaluate the usefulness of Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 in identifying psychosocial problems in low-income, Turkish children.
Background. Epidemiological data indicate that 10–20% of children in primary care settings exhibit significant psychosocial problems. Early detection and treatment of these problems may lead to considerable health benefits. However, the brief and valid screening tool for children with psychosocial problems is not available in Turkey.
Methods. A sample of 306 parents with children between 6–16 years of age who were attending primary schools in Istanbul was included. The psychometric properties of the scale were established by examining the content, convergent, discriminant, construct validity and internal consistency and stability. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was conducted to estimate the optimal cut-off score of scale using the Child Behaviour Checklist as the criterion standard.
Results. Convergent validity was supported, and discriminant validity suggested that the scale successfully discriminated among the normal, borderline and clinical range groups. Although, exploratory factor analysis extracted three factors, confirmatory factor analysis did not meet the criteria for good model fit. Internal consistency was found to be 0·81; test–retest reliability was found to be 0·72. The area under curve was found to be 0·91 and optimal cut-off score was found to be 12 (sensitivity: 0·81; specificity: 0·86) for clinical range psychopathology.
Conclusion. The results provided an empirical support for extending the use of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 in the primary care settings. The Turkish version of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 showed an adequate reliability and validity for its use in low-income, Turkish children.
Relevance to clinical practice. Primary care providers can use the Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 for early identification of childhood psychosocial problems in primary care settings. This easy-to-use tool can provide guidance to care providers for further assessment of children.