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Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify items from the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale – RCADS-C/P that provided a brief, reliable and valid screen for anxiety and/or depressive disorders in adolescents. In addition, we examined whether adding items assessing suicidal ideation (Moods and Feelings Questionnaire – MFQ-C/P) and symptom impact and duration (items adapted from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire – SDQ) improved the identification of adolescents with anxiety and/or depressive disorders. Methods: We compared two samples of adolescents and their parents – a community sample, recruited through secondary schools in England (n = 214) and a clinic-referred sample, who met diagnostic criteria for anxiety and/or depressive disorder and were recruited through a university-based research clinic (n = 246). Participants completed the RCADS-C/P with additional symptom impact and duration items, and the MFQ-C/P.Results: Using ROC curve analyses, we identified a set of 11 RCADS-C/P items (6 addressing anxiety and 5 addressing depression symptoms) for adolescent- and parent-report. This set of 11 symptom items achieved sensitivity/specificity values > .75, which were comparable to corresponding values for the original RCADS-C/P. Combining adolescent and parent-report improved the identification of anxiety/depression in adolescents compared to using adolescent-report alone. Finally, adding two symptom impact items further improved the sensitivity/specificity of the 11 symptom items, whereas adding suicidal ideation items did not.Conclusions: The 11 RCADS items accurately discriminated between the community and the clinic-referred sample with anxiety and/or depressive disorders and have the potential to quickly and accurately identify adolescents with these disorders in community settings.

Original publication




Journal article


Center for Open Science

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