Validation of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument with a looked after population [2018]

The Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument–version 2 (MAYSI-2) was developed to help identify mental health needs of young people admitted to youth detention centres. Only one study has applied the tool to a UK population and none have looked at young people who live in residential and secure care in Scotland. This study aimed to assess the validity of the MAYSI-2 in Scotland with a looked after and accommodated population. Boys and girls in a large education and care centre were asked to complete the MAYSI-2 within 72 hours of being accommodated. A total of 168 males and 69 females with a mean age of 15 completed the tool. Substantial levels of mental health need were identified. Girls appeared to have higher needs on all areas, bar alcohol and substance misuse. The MAYSI-2 had good internal consistency and exploratory factor analysis showed good overlap with the tool’s original factor model. As a result, there can be more confidence in the validity and consistency of the tool with this population. This is also further evidence of the high need of this population, particularly girls.

Claire Reilly, Dan R Johnson, Kirstin Ferguson

Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, September 29, 2018