BACKGROUND:

The Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 (PSC-17) is a widely used, briefer version of the PSC-35, a parent-completed measure of children’s psychosocial functioning. Despite the extensive use of the PSC-17 over the past 15 years there has not been a large-scale replication of the original derivation study.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the prevalence of positive screens, reliability, and factor structure of PSC-17 scores in a new national sample and compare them with the derivation sample.

METHODS:

Data were collected on 80 680 pediatric outpatients, ages 4 to 15 years, whose parents filled out the PSC-17 from 2006 to 2015 via the Child Health and Development Interactive System, an electronic system that presents and scores clinical measures.

RESULTS:

The rates of positive screening on the overall PSC-17 (11.6%) and on the internalizing (10.4%) and attention (9.1%) subscales were comparable to rates found in the original sample, although the rate of externalizing problems (10.2%) was lower than in the derivation study. Reliability was high (internal consistency 0.89; test–retest 0.85), and a confirmatory factor analysis provided support for the original 3-factor model.

CONCLUSIONS:

Fifteen years after the PSC-17 was derived in a large nationally representative outpatient pediatric sample, a new and larger national sample found rates of positive screening, reliability, and factor structure that were comparable. Findings from this study support the continued use of the PSC-17 clinically as a screening tool in pediatric settings and in research.

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