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Measuring outcomes of multiple diagnosis groups in residential treatment using the brief psychiatric rating scale for children (BPRS-C)

By Lorrie Henderson, Krista McIlhaney and Thomas Wasser


Treatment organizations are being placed under increased pressure to quantitatively demonstrate the efficacy of their programs. Demonstrations of treatment effectiveness are often necessary regardless of the treatment setting. This study was conducted to determine if a valid measure, the BPRS-C, would be able to detect symptom reduction in a population that was less acute than the hospitalized adolescent. The BPRS-C is administered by trained staff and contains subscales for seven constructs: behavior problems, depression, thinking disturbance, psychomotor, withdraw/retardation, anxiety and organicity. A total score for the tool, while reported in the literature, has never been validated for use. Four diagnosis groups were tested with the tool after a suitable observation period after admission and then again at the time of discharge. These diagnosis groups were Conduct Disorder (n = 87), Bipolar disorder (n = 39), Depression (n = 53) and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (n = 109). The results indicated that the BPRS-C was able to detect improvement in client condition on several subscales within each of the diagnosis groups. The conclusions from this research are that the BPRS-C is a tool that has application in the adolescent residential setting. The diagnosis groups could be reflective of the client diagnosis mix that might be encountered in other similar institutions.

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