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November 1988

Screening for Psychosocial Disorders in Pediatric Practice

Author Affiliations

From the Child Psychiatry Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(11):1153-1157. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150110031013

• Pediatricians have traditionally placed a high value on screening procedures. Screening tests are a routine part of health maintenance visits and serve the dual function of prevention and early recognition. However, despite the high prevalence of psychiatric disorders, there is no psychosocial screening procedure available. We present the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC), a one-page, 35-item, parent-completed questionnaire that screens school-age children for psychosocial dysfunction. The PSC is administered in the waiting room and can be completed and scored in under five minutes. The PSC is not diagnostic of specific psychiatric disorders but is designed to help the pediatrician select which children may benefit from further clinical evaluation.

(AJDC 1988;142:1153-1157)