Clinician-rated measures are used extensively in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). The Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA) is a short clinician-rated measure developed for ordinary clinical practice, with increasing use internationally. Several studies have investigated its psychometric properties, but there are few data on its correspondence with other methods, rated by other informants. We compared the HoNOSCA with the well-established Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) questionnaires: the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Teacher’s Report Form (TRF), and the Youth Self-Report (YSR).
Data on 153 patients aged 6-17 years at seven outpatient CAMHS clinics in Norway were analysed. Clinicians completed the HoNOSCA, whereas parents, teachers, and adolescents filled in the ASEBA forms. HoNOSCA total score and nine of its scales were compared with similar ASEBA scales. With a multiple regression model, we investigated how the ASEBA ratings predicted the clinician-rated HoNOSCA and whether the different informants’ scores made any unique contribution to the prediction of the HoNOSCA scales.
We found moderate correlations between the total problems rated by the clinicians (HoNOSCA) and by the other informants (ASEBA) and good correspondence between eight of the nine HoNOSCA scales and the similar ASEBA scales. The exception was HoNOSCA scale 8 psychosomatic symptoms compared with the ASEBA somatic problems scale. In the regression analyses, the CBCL and TRF total problems scores together explained 27% of the variance in the HoNOSCA total scores (23% for the age group 11-17 years, also including the YSR). The CBCL provided unique information for the prediction of the HoNOSCA total score, HoNOSCA scale 1 aggressive behaviour, HoNOSCA scale 2 overactivity or attention problems, HoNOSCA scale 9 emotional symptoms, and HoNOSCA scale 10 peer problems; the TRF for all these except HoNOSCA scale 9 emotional symptoms; and the YSR for HoNOSCA scale 9 emotional symptoms only.
This study supports the concurrent validity of the HoNOSCA. It also demonstrates that parents, teachers and adolescents all contribute unique information in relation to the clinician-rated HoNOSCA, indicating that the HoNOSCA ratings reflect unique perspectives from multiple informants.