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ERIC Number: EJ934328
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0022-006X
Youth Top Problems: Using Idiographic, Consumer-Guided Assessment to Identify Treatment Needs and to Track Change during Psychotherapy
Weisz, John R.; Chorpita, Bruce F.; Frye, Alice; Ng, Mei Yi; Lau, Nancy; Bearman, Sarah Kate; Ugueto, Ana M.; Langer, David A.; Hoagwood, Kimberly E.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v79 n3 p369-380 Jun 2011
Objective: To complement standardized measurement of symptoms, we developed and tested an efficient strategy for identifying (before treatment) and repeatedly assessing (during treatment) the problems identified as most important by caregivers and youths in psychotherapy. Method: A total of 178 outpatient-referred youths, 7-13 years of age, and their caregivers separately identified the 3 problems of greatest concern to them at pretreatment and then rated the severity of those problems weekly during treatment. The Top Problems measure thus formed was evaluated for (a) whether it added to the information obtained through empirically derived standardized measures (e.g., the Child Behavior Checklist [CBCL; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001] and the Youth Self-Report [YSR; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001]) and (b) whether it met conventional psychometric standards. Results: The problems identified were significant and clinically relevant; most matched CBCL/YSR items while adding specificity. The top problems also complemented the information yield of the CBCL/YSR; for example, for 41% of caregivers and 79% of youths, the identified top problems did not correspond to any items of any narrowband scales in the clinical range. Evidence on test-retest reliability, convergent and discriminant validity, sensitivity to change, slope reliability, and the association of Top Problems slopes with standardized measure slopes supported the psychometric strength of the measure. Conclusions: The Top Problems measure appears to be a psychometrically sound, client-guided approach that complements empirically derived standardized assessment; the approach can help focus attention and treatment planning on the problems that youths and caregivers consider most important and can generate evidence on trajectories of change in those problems during treatment. (Contains 4 footnotes, 3 tables, and 2 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Brief Symptom Inventory; Child Behavior Checklist