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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1992 Nov;31(11):660-7.

Screening for psychosocial dysfunction in pediatric practice. A naturalistic study of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist.

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Child Psychiatry Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


This study examined the routine implementation of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC), a brief questionnaire which screens for psychosocial dysfunction in school-aged children in an outpatient pediatric practice. Results indicated that the PSC was well-accepted by parents and adequately tolerated by busy clinic staff. When the PSC was included as part of the standard procedure for well-child visits, the referral rate for psychosocial problems due to positive PSC scores rose to 12% from the clinic baseline referral rate of 1.5%, a significant increase (P < .01). Half of the children who screened positive on the PSC had not been previously identified by their pediatricians as having psychosocial problems, and more than half had never received any psychological treatment. When implementation of the PSC was discontinued, the referral rate fell to 2%, a rate similar to baseline. The findings suggest that it is possible to incorporate the PSC into routine pediatric practice and that the PSC can help pediatricians identify and better serve children experiencing psychosocial difficulties. The study also suggests that further work is needed to understand the barriers to ongoing implementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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