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Psychiatr Serv. 2001 Aug;52(8):1088-94.

Reliability of the services assessment for children and adolescents.

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  • 1Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.



This study examined the test-retest reliability of a new instrument, the Services Assessment for Children and Adolescents (SACA), for children's use of mental health services.


A cross-sectional survey was undertaken at two sites. The St. Louis site used a volunteer sample recruited from mental health clinics and local schools. The Ventura County, California, site used a double-blind, community-based sample seeded with cases of service-using children. Participating families completed the SACA and were retested within four to 14 days. The reliability of service use items was calculated with use of the kappa statistic.


The SACA- Parent Version had excellent test-retest reliability for both lifetime service use and previous 12-month use. The SACA also had good to excellent reliability when administered to children aged 11 and older for lifetime and 12-month use. Reliability figures for children aged nine and ten years were considerably lower for lifetime and 12-month use. The younger children's responses suggested that they were confused about some questions.


This study demonstrates that parents and older children can reliably report use of mental health services by using the SACA. The SACA can be used to collect currently unavailable information about use of mental health services.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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