Initial validation of the functional impairment scale for children and adolescents.
OBJECTIVE: Two studies assessed the validity of the Functional Impairment Scale for Children and Adolescents (FISCA), a multidimensional parent-report questionnaire. METHOD: In study 1, quasi-exploratory and confirmatory procedures tested whether FISCA data for 804 inpatients (mean age = 13.4, 456 boys), collected October 1994 through December 1995, fit a 3-factor model. Study 2 (n = 330) used survival and discriminant analyses to predict recidivism status at 3 and 6 months follow-up from FISCA scores at intake. RESULTS: The 8 FISCA scales reduced to 3 factors describing undercontrolled aggression, social role violations, and self-focused aspects of child functional impairment. Serious impairment on the Aggression and School scales each predicted a 3-fold increase in recidivism risk. Together, impairment scores for Aggression, School, Thinking, and Delinquency correctly identified 73% of the recidivists. However, 51% of the nonrecidivists also were classified as recidivists. CONCLUSIONS: Although these data initially support the FISCA's validity, they underscore the need for more effective strategies to identify severely impaired children whose problems will be sporadic or short-lived.