Objectives: To review the historical development, reliability, validity, administrative characteristics, and uses of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (K-SADS).
Method: The various past and current K-SADS editions were reviewed as was the literature describing their uses.
Results: Three DSM-IV-compatible versions of the K-SADS are in general use, 1 present state (K-SADS-P IVR) and 2 epidemiological editions (K-SADS-E and K-SADS-P/L). All 3 interviews provide a current diagnostic assessment. The K-SADS-P IVR also evaluates the worst past episode during the preceding year, while the K-SADS-E and -P/L provide a lifetime diagnosis. The K-SADS-E and -P/L are primarily categorical diagnostic interviews while the K-SADS-P IVR, which also measures symptom severity, can be used to monitor treatment response. All editions have good rater reliability. However, the quality of the validating data set for the K-SADS is limiting.
Conclusions: The K-SADS is a viable interview schedule to assess current, past, and lifetime diagnostic status in children and adolescents. It is has the potential to further aide in the validation of psychiatric disorders. The substantial rater training required for reliable administration and the need for more validation work remain its drawbacks.