The Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) is a brief questionnaire that helps identify and assess changes in emotional and behavioral problems in children. The PSC covers a broad range of emotional and behavioral problems and is meant to provide an assessment of psychosocial functioning.
Validity: 68% of the children identified as PSC positive will also be identified as impaired by an experienced clinician and, conversely, 95% of the children identified as PSC negative will be identified as unimpaired (Jellinek et al. 1988). Similarly high rates of validity have been reported for the PSC-Y and several of the PSC translations.
Reliability: Test/retest reliability of the PSC ranges from r = .84 – .91. Over time, case/not case classification ranges from 83%-87% and kappa = .84 (Jellinek et al. 1988; Murphy et al. 1992).
Inter-item Analysis: Our studies (Murphy & Jellinek 1988; Murphy et al. 1996) indicate strong internal consistency of the PSC items (Cronbach alpha = .91) and highly significant (p < 0.001) correlations between individual PSC items and positive PSC screening scores.
The total score is calculated by adding the 35 individual scores, so the total score will be 0 to 70. If one to three items are left blank, they are ignored (and given a score of 0). If four or more items are left blank, the questionnaire is considered invalid.
The total score indicates whether a child has psychosocial impairment. A positive score on the PSC suggests the need for further evaluation by a qualified health or mental health professional. Note that both false positives and false negatives can occur.