Objective: Because the accuracy of problems reported by referred children may be compromised by their academic, cognitive, or motivational limitations, clinician rating forms may contribute to the accurate assessment of youth adjustment. One such measure, the 21-item Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale for Children (BPRS-C), received psychometric study to estimate its potential contribution to the measurement of symptom dimensions. BPRS-C reliability and concurrent validity were calculated for youths who were receiving psychiatric services within a medical school department.
Method: Five hundred forty-seven children aged 3 to 18 years were rated by faculty or trainees; a subsample of 90 was concurrently rated by two observers. BPRS-C psychometric performance was demonstrated through interrater agreement, factor analysis, and multivariate analyses of variance across seven diagnosis-based groups.
Results: Although items and scales demonstrated substantial reliability and concurrent validity, item factor analysis revealed a few apparent errors in item-to-scale assignment. These errors were minimized by the use of three new second-order factor-derived scales: Internalization, Developmental Maladjustment, and Externalization.
Conclusions: The BPRS-C can be easily integrated into academic clinical practice and is a reliable and valid method of child description. Additional study of three new BPRS-C factor scales and the application of the BPRS-C to the quantification of clinician observation of child symptomatic status are warranted.