Validation of the Symptoms and Functioning Severity Scale in Residential Group Care

Matthew C. Lambert, Kristin Duppong Hurley, Thomas J. Gross, Michael H. Epstein, Amy L. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Tests that measure the emotional and behavioral problems of children and youth are typically not normed and standardized on youth diagnosed with disruptive behavior, particularly those youth in residential care. Yet professional standards mandate that before instruments are used with a specific population the psychometric properties need to be studied and re-established: specifically, psychometric properties, including validity, need to be evaluated (AERA, APA, and NCME, The standards for educational and psychological testing. AERA, Washington, DC, 1999). The purpose of the present study was to assess the validity characteristics of the Symptoms and Functioning Severity Scale (SFSS; Bickman et al., Manual of the Peabody Treatment Progress Battery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 2010), a widely used test developed for use in outpatient clinics, with youth in a residential care program. The convergent validity of the SFSS was established with the large correlations (0.78–0.86) with the CBCL. Several binary classification analyses including specificity, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, positive and negative likelihood ratios, and the Youden Index supported the validity of the SFSS. However, the sensitivity index was somewhat low indicating the test may produce a high level of false negatives. Limitations, future research and implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-362
Number of pages7
JournalAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Assessment
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Psychometrics
  • Residential group care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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