Ten-year review of rating scales. II: Scales for internalizing disorders

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;41(6):634-59. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200206000-00004.


Objective: This article, the second in the Journal's series of 10-year updates on rating scales, summarizes scales assessing internalizing disorders.

Method: The authors sampled articles on mood and anxiety disorders over the past 25 years, selected scales with multiple citations over many years, and reviewed their properties. Those with adequate psychometric properties, plus continued wide literature citations or a current special niche, are presented here.

Results: Rating scales for depression were developed and/or examined in the 1980s. Despite generally strong properties, they lack clear construct validity. Most have parent-report forms that broaden their suitability with youths. Anxiety scales were developed bimodally. Those developed in the 1960s to 1970s were downward modifications of adult scales. They have been criticized for unclear constructs and unsuitability for youths. Newer scales developed in the 1990s have addressed these problems and have parent-report forms. However, their utility is still being determined.

Conclusions: Rating scales can reliably, validly, and efficiently measure youths' internalizing psychopathology. They have great utility in research, treatment planning, and accountability in practice. However, the user must define the goals of measurement, consider the construct the scale measures, and use the scale within its defined capabilities. The use of more than one scale for a task is recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / classification
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Mood Disorders / classification
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results