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Diagnostic Screening with Incarcerated Youths: Comparing the DPS and Voice DISC

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior: An International Journal Volume: 34 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2007 Pages: 830-845
Date Published
June 2007
16 pages
This study compared the DISC Predictive Scales (DPS) and the Voice Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (V-DISC) in terms of their identification of mental health concerns in juvenile offenders.
The results indicated the accuracy of the DPS as a first-stage screen for the V-DISC with juvenile offenders. The DPS consistently identified higher percentages of youth with mental health concerns than did the V-DISC. Moreover, the DPS exhibited high agreement with V-DISC results from studies with community samples of youth. High agreement between the DPS and the V-DISC was also noted with suicide risk items, which is of particular concern for juvenile justice administrators charged with the safety of the juvenile offenders in their care. However, the findings also revealed that the DPS measures of internalizing problems were less accurate than those measuring externalizing problems. In terms of implications, the DPS offers advantages over other assessments in terms of accuracy and specificity. Participants were 195 juvenile offenders recruited via random selection from the Northeast Reception Center of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Participants completed a series of self-report assessments, including the DPS and the V-DISC. Analysis of the data involved a series of methods that included the calculation of Cronbach’s alpha, chi-square, and logistic regression models. Limitations of the study are discussed and include the validation of the DPS against the V-DISC rather than against a clinical evaluation. Figures, tables, references

Date Published: June 1, 2007