The Importance of Establishing Reliability and Validity of Assessment Instruments for Mental Health Problems: An Example from Somali Children and Adolescents Living in Three Refugee Camps in Ethiopia

Brian J. Hall, Eve Puffer, Laura Murray, Abdulkadir Ismael, Judith Bass, Amanda Sim, Paul A Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Assessing mental health problems cross-culturally for children exposed to war and violence presents a number of unique challenges. One of the most important issues is the lack of validated symptom measures to assess these problems. The present study sought to evaluate the psychometric properties of two measures to assess mental health problems: the Achenbach Youth Self-Report and the Child Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale. We conducted a validity study in three refugee camps in Eastern Ethiopia in the outskirts of Jijiga, the capital of the Somali region. A total of 147 child and caregiver pairs were assessed, and scores obtained were submitted to rigorous psychometric evaluation. Excellent internal consistency reliability was obtained for symptom measures for children and their caregivers. Validation of study instruments based on local case definitions was obtained for the caregivers but not consistently for the children. Sensitivity and specificity of study measures were generally low, indicating that these scales would not perform adequately as screening instruments. Combined test-retest and inter-rater reliability was low for all scales. This study illustrates the need for validation and testing of existing measures cross-culturally. Methodological implications for future cross-cultural research studies in low- and middle-income countries are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Injury and Law
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Refugees
Ethiopia
mental health
refugee
Reproducibility of Results
Mental Health
adolescent
Caregivers
caregiver
Psychometrics
psychometrics
outskirts
Validation Studies
posttraumatic stress disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
violence
Violence
Self Report
Economics
camp

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Assessment
  • Children
  • PTSD
  • Refugees
  • Reliability
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

Cite this

@article{c0b66e5e20744c68830ee13b99d383ba,
title = "The Importance of Establishing Reliability and Validity of Assessment Instruments for Mental Health Problems: An Example from Somali Children and Adolescents Living in Three Refugee Camps in Ethiopia",
abstract = "Assessing mental health problems cross-culturally for children exposed to war and violence presents a number of unique challenges. One of the most important issues is the lack of validated symptom measures to assess these problems. The present study sought to evaluate the psychometric properties of two measures to assess mental health problems: the Achenbach Youth Self-Report and the Child Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale. We conducted a validity study in three refugee camps in Eastern Ethiopia in the outskirts of Jijiga, the capital of the Somali region. A total of 147 child and caregiver pairs were assessed, and scores obtained were submitted to rigorous psychometric evaluation. Excellent internal consistency reliability was obtained for symptom measures for children and their caregivers. Validation of study instruments based on local case definitions was obtained for the caregivers but not consistently for the children. Sensitivity and specificity of study measures were generally low, indicating that these scales would not perform adequately as screening instruments. Combined test-retest and inter-rater reliability was low for all scales. This study illustrates the need for validation and testing of existing measures cross-culturally. Methodological implications for future cross-cultural research studies in low- and middle-income countries are discussed.",
keywords = "Adolescents, Assessment, Children, PTSD, Refugees, Reliability, Validity",
author = "Hall, {Brian J.} and Eve Puffer and Laura Murray and Abdulkadir Ismael and Judith Bass and Amanda Sim and Bolton, {Paul A}",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1007/s12207-014-9188-9",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "7",
pages = "153--164",
journal = "Psychological Injury and Law",
issn = "1938-971X",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Importance of Establishing Reliability and Validity of Assessment Instruments for Mental Health Problems

T2 - An Example from Somali Children and Adolescents Living in Three Refugee Camps in Ethiopia

AU - Hall, Brian J.

AU - Puffer, Eve

AU - Murray, Laura

AU - Ismael, Abdulkadir

AU - Bass, Judith

AU - Sim, Amanda

AU - Bolton, Paul A

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Assessing mental health problems cross-culturally for children exposed to war and violence presents a number of unique challenges. One of the most important issues is the lack of validated symptom measures to assess these problems. The present study sought to evaluate the psychometric properties of two measures to assess mental health problems: the Achenbach Youth Self-Report and the Child Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale. We conducted a validity study in three refugee camps in Eastern Ethiopia in the outskirts of Jijiga, the capital of the Somali region. A total of 147 child and caregiver pairs were assessed, and scores obtained were submitted to rigorous psychometric evaluation. Excellent internal consistency reliability was obtained for symptom measures for children and their caregivers. Validation of study instruments based on local case definitions was obtained for the caregivers but not consistently for the children. Sensitivity and specificity of study measures were generally low, indicating that these scales would not perform adequately as screening instruments. Combined test-retest and inter-rater reliability was low for all scales. This study illustrates the need for validation and testing of existing measures cross-culturally. Methodological implications for future cross-cultural research studies in low- and middle-income countries are discussed.

AB - Assessing mental health problems cross-culturally for children exposed to war and violence presents a number of unique challenges. One of the most important issues is the lack of validated symptom measures to assess these problems. The present study sought to evaluate the psychometric properties of two measures to assess mental health problems: the Achenbach Youth Self-Report and the Child Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale. We conducted a validity study in three refugee camps in Eastern Ethiopia in the outskirts of Jijiga, the capital of the Somali region. A total of 147 child and caregiver pairs were assessed, and scores obtained were submitted to rigorous psychometric evaluation. Excellent internal consistency reliability was obtained for symptom measures for children and their caregivers. Validation of study instruments based on local case definitions was obtained for the caregivers but not consistently for the children. Sensitivity and specificity of study measures were generally low, indicating that these scales would not perform adequately as screening instruments. Combined test-retest and inter-rater reliability was low for all scales. This study illustrates the need for validation and testing of existing measures cross-culturally. Methodological implications for future cross-cultural research studies in low- and middle-income countries are discussed.

KW - Adolescents

KW - Assessment

KW - Children

KW - PTSD

KW - Refugees

KW - Reliability

KW - Validity

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84902547990&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84902547990&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s12207-014-9188-9

DO - 10.1007/s12207-014-9188-9

M3 - Article

C2 - 24955147

AN - SCOPUS:84902547990

VL - 7

SP - 153

EP - 164

JO - Psychological Injury and Law

JF - Psychological Injury and Law

SN - 1938-971X

IS - 2

ER -