Introduction: The Dominic Interactive was developed in North America to assess a child's perception of her/his own symptoms, which is critical to balance parents' and school professionals' perception. It is a computerized, DSM-IV-based pictorial questionnaire akin to a video game, for children aged 6-11. A strengths and competencies scale displays positive situations. Most children complete the Dominic Interactive 90 situations within 10-15 min.
Objective: Because of the cultural differences between North American and French children, a study of the appropriateness of the instrument to assess French children was required.
Methods: The CD-ROM-based Dominic Interactive was completed by 253 community children, and by 150 children from outpatient clinics in four French cities. The latter also received clinical diagnoses. Prevalence estimates yielded by the Dominic Interactive in the general population and referred children, relationships between prevalence estimates based on the Dominic Interactive and clinical judgments, and differences between Dominic Interactive scores in sub-samples of children with and without a clinical diagnosis were studied.
Results: Significant differences between clinically referred and non-referred children were found for every diagnosis, and between Dominic Interactive scores of referred children with and without a clinical diagnosis with the exception of oppositional disorder. Parental acceptability of the instrument was never a problem, children like it, and clinicians' comments were positive.
Discussion: Reference and clinical judgment both indicate that the Dominic Interactive is appropriate to assess child mental health in France. Clinical judgment discrepancies between sites and small numbers are the limitations of this study.
Conclusion: The instrument performed well in the French context. The potential advantages of using the Dominic Interactive (children enjoy the activity, parents approve of it, it is relatively cost-effective, etc.) suggest its applicability in other settings.