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Comparing DISC-IV and clinician diagnoses among youths receiving public mental health services.

Author information

1
University of California, San Diego, USA. clewczyk@casrc.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the prevalence and agreement of diagnoses based on Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV (DISC-IV) and clinician assignment for youths receiving public mental health services between 1996 and 1997 and to examine potential predictors of diagnostic agreement.

METHOD:

Participants included 240 youths aged 6-18 years. Past-year prevalence rates and kappa statistics were calculated for four diagnostic categories: anxiety, mood, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and disruptive behavior disorders (DBD). Potential predictors of diagnostic agreement were examined with logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of ADHD, DBD, and anxiety disorders was significantly higher based on the DISC-IV, while the prevalence of mood disorders was significantly higher based on clinician assignment. Diagnostic agreement was poor overall. The kappa values ranged from -0.04 for anxiety disorders to 0.22 for ADHD. Significant predictors of agreement varied by diagnosis and included symptom severity, comorbidity, youth age and gender, and school-based problem identification.

CONCLUSIONS:

Consistent with previous findings of poor diagnostic agreement between structured interviews and clinicians, these results call for a better understanding of factors affecting diagnostic assignment across different methods. This is especially important if researchers continue to use structured interviews to determine prevalence, establish diagnosis-based treatment guidelines, and disseminate evidence-based treatments to community mental health settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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