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Screening for Emergent Risk and Service Needs Among Incarcerated Youth: Comparing MAYSI-2 and Voice DISC-IV

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2004
11 pages
This study examined associations between the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Version (MAYSI-2) and the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Present State Voice Version (DISC-IV) and the extent to which MAYSI-2 subscales map onto DISC-IV disorders and conditions.
Access was provided to juvenile residents of the New Jersey Training School for Boys and the South Carolina Northeast Reception Center. The average youth in the sample of 325 was 17 years old and in the ninth grade. The State subsamples differed somewhat, reflecting differences in demographics, local laws, and arrest practices in the two States. The juveniles completed the MAYSI-2 at admission. The widely used MAYSI-2 was developed to screen juveniles in the justice system with potential emotional or behavioral programs. The Voice DISC computer program presents prerecorded questions through headphones, and written versions of the same questions appear on the computer screen. Juveniles used the keyboard or mouse to enter responses. Eighty percent of MAYSI-2 data were collected within 14 days of the completion of the DISC. The DISC is the most extensively tested child and adolescent diagnostic interview. Although the DISC-IV is not a screen, the computerized, self-administered format lends itself to this use. The study found that MAYSI-2 subscales generally mapped best onto homotypic DISC-IV disorders, although many subscales also mapped almost as well onto heterotypic disorders. Alcohol/Drug Use and Suicide Ideation, respectively, identified youths reported substance disorders and recent suicide attempts. Other subscales also did not identify parallel DISC-IV disorders. The lack of overlap for the two instruments on some disorders may result from the MAYSI-2's combining of diagnostic constructs into single subscales. The study concludes that in systems with multiple means of referral, the MAYSI-2 is a useful intake screen, but its usefulness as the only means for making diagnoses for treatment purposes is limited. These results suggest the value of two separate universal screenings, one for current safety concerns and one for mental health service needs. Juveniles screening positive on either instrument should be reviewed by a clinician, although the purposes of these reviews will differ. 4 tables and 30 references

Date Published: May 1, 2004