Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument for mental health needs of juvenile justice youths

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 May;40(5):541-8. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200105000-00013.


Objective: This report describes the development of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Version (MAYSI-2), a brief screening measure to identify youths with potential mental, emotional, or behavioral problems at entry points in the juvenile justice system.

Method: This 52-item self-report measure, with content relevant to common mental health problems in delinquent populations, was administered to 1,279 male and female youths, aged 12 to 17, in Massachusetts juvenile justice facilities. A subsample of youths also received the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI) and the Youth Self-Report (YSR). The instrument was subsequently administered to 3,804 male and female youths in California Youth Authority custody.

Results: Factor analyses of the 52 items identified seven scales that were conceptually associated with various mental, emotional, and behavioral problems of youths, which were generally confirmed by separate factor analyses with the California sample. The scales manifested adequate internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Most scales were substantially correlated with conceptually similar scales in the MACI and YSR, and they identified most youths who scored at clinically significant levels on those instruments.

Conclusions: The MAYSI-2 shows promise as a reliable and valid screening tool to assist juvenile justice staff in identifying youths who may need an immediate response to mental or emotional problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency*
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*