Using a Brief Parent-Report Measure to Track Outcomes for Children and Teens with ADHD

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2016 Jun;47(3):407-16. doi: 10.1007/s10578-015-0575-6.


The Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) is a widely used, parent-completed measure of children's emotional and behavioral functioning. Previous research has shown that the PSC and its subscales are responsive to patient progress over the course of psychiatric treatment. In this naturalistic study, parents and clinicians of 1736 patients aged 17 or younger completed standardized measures at intake and 3-month follow-up appointments. We assessed the 5-item PSC Attention Subscale (PSC-AS) as a longitudinal measure of attention-related symptoms in routine outpatient psychiatry treatment. Secondarily, we compared PSC-AS scores with clinician-reported diagnoses, psychomotor excitation symptoms, and overall functioning. Change scores on the PSC-AS were larger among patients with ADHD diagnoses than those with non-ADHD diagnoses. Comparisons between PSC-AS scores and clinician reports also showed acceptable levels of agreement. Given its effectiveness in tracking attention-related symptoms, the PSC may be particularly useful as a quality assurance or treatment outcome measure for clinicians treating ADHD.

Keywords: Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity; Child psychiatry; Outcome assessment; Pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / therapy
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Checklist / methods*
  • Child
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Psychological Techniques
  • Psychotherapy / methods