Exploring the relationship between strengths of youth, their level of functioning, and internalizing or externalizing symptom expression
Ostap, Simeon V.
DisciplinePsychology : Experimental
Mental health assessment
Youth mental health assessment
MetadataShow full item record
Mental health assessments produce profiles specifying the nature and severity of youths’ symptoms and impairments. Interest in developing more comprehensive mental health profiles has motivated efforts to also assess youth’s strengths. Youth mental health service recipients self-reported, and were rated by caregivers, for strengths in a comprehensive number of settings and contexts using the Strengths Assessment Inventory (Rawana & Brownlee, 2009a). Youth and observer subscale ratings had a moderate to high level of internal consistency with most sufficient for research measurement, and some approaching the level recommended for clinical purposes. Agreement between youth and caregiver ratings were greatest for youths’ strengths at school and from being involved in their community. Strengths scores were matched to youths’ archived mental health data. Logistic regression indicated internalizing youth in the sample were more likely than peers with externalizing presentation to report strengths at home, at school, relating to their use of free time and their time spent with friends. Internalizing youth were also more likely to report strengths related to being optimistic for the future, and possessing goals and dreams. Caregivers’ ratings of youths’ strengths were not found to be associated with youth’s presentation of internalizing or externalizing issues. The study demonstrates youth in clinical samples self-reported strengths in particular areas are related to the nature of their self-reported mental health symptom presentation. A number of recommendations are made for future research on quantitative strengths assessment for clinical purposes.