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J Affect Disord. 2010 Feb;121(1-2):45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2009.05.013. Epub 2009 Jun 7.

The ability of YSR DSM-oriented depression scales to predict DSM-IV depression in young adults: a longitudinal study.

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School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.



The Achenbach child behaviour checklist (CBCL/YSR) is a widely used screening tool for affective problems. Several studies report good association between the checklists and psychiatric diagnoses; although with varying degrees of agreement. Most are cross-sectional studies involving adolescents referred to mental health services. This paper aims to evaluate the performance of the youth self report (YSR) empirical and DSM-oriented internalising scales in predicting later depressive disorders in young adults.


Sample was 2431 young adults from an Australian birth cohort study. The strength of association between the empirical and DSM-oriented scales assessed at 14 and 21 years and structured-interview derived depression in young adulthood (18 to 22 years) were tested using odds ratios, ROC analyses and related diagnostic efficiency tests (sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values).


Adolescents with internalising symptoms were twice (OR 2.3, 95%CI 1.7 to 3.1) as likely to be diagnosed with DSM-IV depression by age 21. Use of DSM-oriented depressive scales did not improve the concordance between the internalising behaviour and DSM-IV diagnosed depression at age 14 (ORs ranged from 1.9 to 2.5).


Some loss to follow-up over the 7-year gap between the two waves of follow-up.


DSM-oriented scales perform no better than the standard internalising or anxious/depressed scales in identifying young adults with later DSM-IV depressive disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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