Validation of the Arab Youth Mental Health scale as a screening tool for depression/anxiety in Lebanese children

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Abstract

Background: Early detection of common mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, among children and adolescents requires the use of validated, culturally sensitive, and developmentally appropriate screening instruments. The Arab region has a high proportion of youth, yet Arabic-language screening instruments for mental disorders among this age group are virtually absent. Methods: We carried out construct and clinical validation on the recently-developed Arab Youth Mental Health (AYMH) scale as a screening tool for depression/anxiety. The scale was administered with 10-14 year old children attending a social service center in Beirut, Lebanon (N = 153). The clinical assessment was conducted by a child and adolescent clinical psychiatrist employing the DSM IV criteria. We tested the scale's sensitivity, specificity, and internal consistency. Results: Scale scores were generally significantly associated with how participants responded to standard questions on health, mental health, and happiness, indicating good construct validity. The results revealed that the scale exhibited good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.86) and specificity (79%). However, it exhibited moderate sensitivity for girls (71%) and poor sensitivity for boys (50%). Conclusions: The AYMH scale is useful as a screening tool for general mental health states and a valid screening instrument for common mental disorders among girls. It is not a valid instrument for detecting depression and anxiety among boys in an Arab culture. Background

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Mahfoud, Z., Abdulrahim, S., Taha, M. B., Harpham, T., El Hajj, T., Makhoul, J., … Afifi, R. (2011). Validation of the Arab Youth Mental Health scale as a screening tool for depression/anxiety in Lebanese children. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1753-2000-5-9

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