This study presents an overview of the adaptation process of the Adolescent Psychopathology Scale - Short Form, on the Romanian population. The psychometric properties were measured for both a clinical and a non-clinical sample of adolescents, aged between 12 and 19. The results of the statistical analysis revealed that APS-SF is a reliable and valid instrument of the mental health status of the Romanian children, being in accordance with the original version of APS-SF. APS-SF is a useful tool for psychiatric and academic problems faced by adolescents. It can be used for assessment, intervention and follow-up of the treatment, but it can prove to be helpful for research purposes as well.
KEYWORDS: adolescents, mental health, assessment, psychopathology
The prior research and the epidemiologic studies performed over the last decade in USA, Canada and other countries show that a significant percent of teenagers suffer from some sort of major clinical disorder (Reynolds, 2000). Overall, it is believed that the prevalence of mental health disorders in this population varies between 7- 15%. In most cases, these disorders remain untreated, as they never get to be diagnosed by mental care specialists. Evaluating the presence and severity of the psychopathology in youngsters is, therefore, a clinical activity of major importance. For many teenagers, a low or moderate level of psychopathology may predict the further development of more severe clinical problems. Even children with a mild clinical disorder or with sub-clinical symptoms may face significant problems with their adaptability and daily functioning (Reynolds, 2000).
The Adolescent Psychopathology Scale - Short Form (APS-SF) was designed to evaluate the psychopathology, the personality traits, and the psychosocial problems of adolescents, aged between 12 and 19 years. The 115 APS-SF items are extracted from the Adolescent Psychopathology Scale (APS; Reynolds, 1998, as cited in Reynolds, 2000), an instrument of 346 items, which evaluates the psychopathological level of teenagers. The APS-SF items provide a direct screening of the specific symptoms of the clinical and personality disorders, included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Ed. (DSM-IV, The American Psychiatry Association, 1994), but also of other problems and behaviours that interfere with a good psycho-social level of adaptation and personal skills (Reynolds, 2000).
APS-SF includes 12 clinical subscales and 2 validity subscales. Six clinical subscales focus on the DSM-IV symptomatology. They have been elaborated to reflect the main symptoms presented in the DSM-IV, which are associated with the following disorders: conduct disorder (CND), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse (SUB). The other six clinical subscales, though not specifically associated with the DSM-IV disorders or symptoms, screen relevant aspects related to various psycho-social problems of teenagers. These subscales include: eating disorder (EAT), suicide (SUI), academic problems (AP), anger/violence proneness (AVP), self-concept (SC) and interpersonal problems (IP). The two validity subscales focus on defensiveness (DEF) and the consistency response (CR) and examine the validity of the answers.
Although it is not considered to be a formal classification system, there is, however, beside DSM-IV, another approach regarding the presentation of the behavioural disorders and problems, resumed in the notion of "clinical level" and acknowledged by means of a Cutoffscore (Cutoffpoint) that is obtained at a psychometric test. From this perspective, the severity of the disorder is screened using the answers given to the items that evaluate the characteristics (i.e., the symptoms) of that disorder. This information is then analysed by the clinical specialists in order to determine the clinical significance of the stated problems (Reynolds, 2000). …