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The assessment of mental health in looked-after adolescents : an exploratory study of the brief assessment checklist for adolescents.

Denton, Ruth-Naomi (2016) The assessment of mental health in looked-after adolescents : an exploratory study of the brief assessment checklist for adolescents. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Objective: The study aimed to investigate the suitability of the Brief Assessment Checklist for Adolescents (BAC-A) as a mental health screening tool for Looked-after adolescents compared to the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Design: The study was a mixed methods design incorporating quantitative and qualitative data. Data was gathered via: Online survey, telephone interviews with foster carers, and focus groups with mental health professionals. Participants: A volunteer sample of foster carers (N = 111) completed an online survey after which eight foster carers volunteered to participate in qualitative interviews. In addition, two focus groups were conducted with mental health practitioners from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the South of England (N = 9). Results: The findings of a correlational analysis confirmed predicted associations between BAC-A and SDQ scores. Multiple regression analyses suggested BAC-A Total score was significantly predicted by SDQ Total and subscales Emotional and Conduct Difficulties. The BAC-A evidenced good internal reliability (α = .89) however analyses suggested some instability across SDQ subscales (range .89 to .66). Exploration of BAC-A internal structure yielded inconclusive results which may have been due to sample size limitations. Qualitative analyses suggested the BAC-A is relevant for Looked-after adolescents but participants raised concerns about item wording and measure specificity. Conclusions: The results provided evidence of scale validity and internal reliability and suggested the BAC-A may be valuable when screening for externalising attachment behaviours. Further investigation with a larger sample is required before conclusions can be made regarding the BAC-A’s internal structure. The BAC-A is relevant to Looked-after adolescents and may raise the profile of trauma amongst professionals. However limitations of scope and wording suggest it would be most valuable when used in conjunction with existing measures of general psychopathology. Keywords:Looked-after, adolescents, developmental trauma, assessment

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects : clinical psychology, developmental trauma, trauma, looked-after children, children in care, mental health
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Denton, Ruth-Naomi
Date : 31 October 2016
Funders : Funding received in the form of a stipend for teaching, research and clinical placements
Contributors :
Depositing User : Ruth-Naomi Denton
Date Deposited : 03 Nov 2016 10:16
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 18:43

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