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December 1984

Choosing a Global Assessment Scale to Describe the Functioning of Children

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry University of California Service San Francisco General Hospital San Francisco, CA 94110

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(12):1186. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790230072014

To the Editor.—  Recently, two sets of investigators reported the development of downward age extensions of the Global Assessment Scale (GAS).1 Sorensen et al2 tested the GAS for Children (C) (J. Sorells, D. Rothman, P. Heldman, unpublished data, 1976), finding that it demonstrated acceptable interrater reliability, test-retest stability, and discrimination of outpatients from inpatients. Similarly, Shaffer et al3 independently developed a separate instrument, called the Children's (C) GAS. The two scales are similar in form and content. How is a clinical researcher to choose between these two instruments?The Table compares the GAS-C and CGAS, including both scale characteristics and known psychometric properties. Both scales use the format of the GAS, with a 100-point range of scores and descriptors for each ten-point interval. The scale content is very similar, with more complete withincategory descriptors and more behavioral descriptors in the CGAS. Although data do not support this

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