Assessment of behavioral distress and depression in a pediatric population

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christina M. Rodriguez, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Using a multitrait—multimethod approach, measures designed to assess emotional distress in medical populations were compared with depression measures standardized on healthy children. In a hospitalized sample of children ages 4 to 12 years old, parent ratings of child distress were compared to nurse ratings and children's responses to a pictorial measure. An assessment battery was administered to 70 mothers and children; 32 nurse ratings were also obtained. Results indicated overlap between information obtained from measures of depression and pediatric-specific measures of distress. However, the findings provide some evidence that measures that incorporate the pediatric context in assessment may be more suitable for medically ill children. Children's reactions to medical intervention vary considerably, but emotional distress during hospitalization is typical. In a pediatric context, emotional distress may be manifest as affective symptoms of depression (e.g., dysphoria, irritability) and behavioral signs of distress (e.g., social withdrawal, agitation, anxiety). Such distress can interfere with medical procedures, and research has historically demonstrated that without intervention during their stay, children display more long-term emotional and behavioral problems following hospitalization (e.g., Douglas, 1975; Melamed & Siegel, 1975).

Additional Information

Children's Health Care, 27(3), 157-170
Language: English
Date: 1998
assessment, behavioral distress, depression, pediatrics, children

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