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December 2003

Norms of "Culture" in a Culture of Norms

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(12):1155-1156. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.12.1155

IN "USE of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist in a Low-Income, Mexican American Population," Jutte et al1 note "mounting evidence that childhood behavioral and psychosocial problems have reached staggering levels" particularly among minority and low-income children. They point out the need for accurate and efficient assessment of these problems in a community health clinic serving low-income patients, most of whom do not speak English. More specifically, the authors consider the usefulness of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) for this purpose. They find that in their sample, the sensitivity of the PSC is lower than expected and speculate that Mexican American immigrants may have a lower incidence of behavioral problems than do the children for whom the PSC was originally validated. They suggest, but do not address in detail, an "epidemiological paradox" in which poverty is not associated with poor health in this population.

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