Send to

Choose Destination
Jacobs J Psychiatry Behav Sci. 2016 Dec;2(2). pii: 016. Epub 2016 Nov 21.

Screening Child Social-emotional and Behavioral Functioning in Low-Income African Country Contexts.

Author information

College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda.
School of Social Work, New York University, United States.
Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, United States.
Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, United States.



children in low-income countries (LICs). Currently, there is little information available on the use of brief screening instruments Increased attention is being paid to identifying and responding to the social-emotional and behavioral needs of in LICs. The lack of psychometrically sound brief assessment tools creates a challenge in determining the population prevalence of child social-emotional and behavioral risk burden in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) country contexts. This study sought to determine the reliability and validity of three brief parent-rated screening tools-the Social Competence Scale (SCS), Pictorial Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PPSC), and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)-in Uganda. These tools consider both strength- and pathology-based dimensions of child outcomes.


Parents of 154 Ugandan 5-9 year-old children who were enrolled in Nursery to Primary 3 in Kampala (the capital city of Uganda) and part of a school-based mental health intervention trial were recruited and interviewed. About 54% of parents had educational attainment of primary school level or less. One hundred and one of these parents were interviewed a second time, about 5 months after the first/baseline assessment. Data from both time points were utilized to assess reliability and validity.


Inspection of psychometric properties supports the utility of these three brief screening measures to assess children's social-emotional and behavioral functioning as demonstrated by adequate internal consistency, temporal stability, discriminant validity, concurrent validity, and predictive validity. Subscales from three screening measures were inter-related and associated with family characteristics, such as parental depression and food insecurity, in the expected directions.


This study provides evidence supporting the appropriateness of using three tools and applying the developmental and behavioral constructs measured in each assessment in a low-income African setting.


Pediatric Symptom Checklist; Problem Behaviors; Psychometrics; Screening; Social Competence; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire; Sub-Saharan Africa; Uganda; social-emotional


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center