Reliability and validity of an interviewer-administered adaptation of the Youth Self-Report for mental health screening of vulnerable young people in Ethiopia

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Objective: Evaluate the reliability and validity of the Youth Self-Report (YSR) as a screening tool for mental health problems among young people vulnerable to HIV in Ethiopia. Design: A cross-sectional assessment of young people currently receiving social services. Methods: Young people age 15–18 participated in a study where a translated and adapted version of the YSR was administered by trained nurses, followed by an assessment by Ethiopian psychiatrists. Internal reliability of YSR syndrome scales were assessed using Chronbach's alpha. Test-retest reliability was assessed through repeating the YSR one month later. To assess validity, analysis of the sensitivity and specificity of the YSR compared to the psychiatrist assessment was conducted. Results: Across the eight syndrome scales, the YSR best measured the diagnosis of anxiety/depression and social problems among young women, and attention problems among young men. Among individual YSR syndrome scales, internal reliability ranged from unacceptable (Chronback’s alpha = 0.11, rule-breaking behavior among young women) to good (α ≥ 0.71, anxiety/depression among young women). Anxiety/depression scores of ≥ 8.5 among young women also had good sensitivity (0.833) and specificity (0.754) to predict a true diagnosis. The YSR syndrome scales for social problems among young women and attention problems among young men also had fair consistency and validity measurements. Most YSR scores had significant positive correlations between baseline and post-one month administration. Measures of reliability and validity for most other YSR syndrome scales were fair to poor. Conclusions: The adapted, personally administered, Amharic version of the YSR has sufficient reliability and validity in identifying young vulnerable women with anxiety/depression and/or social problems, and young men with attention problems; which were the most common mental health disorders observed by psychiatrists among the migrant populations in this study. Further assessment of the applicability of the YSR among vulnerable young people for less common disorders in Ethiopia is needed.






HIVCore: Strengthening HIV and AIDS Treatment, Care, and Support and PMTCT Service Delivery Programs