Acceptability of an emotional and behavioural screening tool for children in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in urban NSW

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2010 Oct;44(10):894-900. doi: 10.3109/00048674.2010.489505.


Objective: To assess the acceptability and face validity of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHOs) located in the greater Sydney region.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in three ACCHOs located within the greater Sydney region in 2008-2009. A semi-structured approach was used in focus groups and small group interviews (n = 47) to elicit participants' views on the appropriateness of the SDQ and any additional issues of importance to Aboriginal child and adolescent mental health.

Results: The SDQ was found to cover many important aspects of Aboriginal child and adolescent mental health, however, the wording of some questions was considered ambiguous and some critical issues are not explored. The peer relationships subscale did not appear to fit well with Aboriginal concepts of the relative importance of different interpersonal relationships.

Conclusion: Overall the SDQ was acceptable in ACCHOs in Sydney; however, changes to the wording of some questions and the response scale may be indicated to improve cultural appropriateness and clarity. A further set of issues which are not covered by any commonly used screening tools but are of critical importance to Aboriginal child and adolescent mental health should also be considered by clinicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Welfare
  • Community Health Services
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*