Examined the validity of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC), a brief parent-completed psychosocial screening questionnaire, in a sample of 166 students from a public middle school. Positive screening on the parent PSC was significantly associated with independent ratings by the students' guidance counselor and teachers of the need for regular counseling; any academic failure during the next 2 years; and PSCs competed by the students about themselves. Most students who screened positive on the parent PSC were found to have significant problems in at least one of the above areas. The PSC also identified a group of students whose difficulties were previously unknown to school personnel. For pediatric psychologists, guidance counselors, and pediatricians who need to identify middle-school students with serious psychosocial problems, the PSC appears to be a valid and useful first-stage screening instrument.

Author notes

1The authors acknowledge the cooperation of the Newton Public Schools as well as the time and efforts of the students and parents who participated in this study, without whose help this research would not have been possible.