Original Paper

Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 113-124

First online:

Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Treatment-Emergent Activation and Suicidality Assessment Profile

  • Jeannette M. ReidAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of South Florida Email author 
  • , Eric A. StorchAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of South FloridaDepartment of Psychiatry, University of South Florida
  • , Tanya K. MurphyAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of South FloridaDepartment of Psychiatry, University of South Florida
  • , Danielle BodzinAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of South Florida
  • , P. Jane MutchAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of South Florida
  • , Heather LehmkuhlAffiliated withNationwide Children’s Hospital
  • , Michael AmanAffiliated withThe Nisonger Center UCEDD, The Ohio State University
  • , Wayne K. GoodmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Mt. Sinai Hospital

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Abstract

Although effective in treating a range of childhood psychiatric conditions, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have been implicated in the induction of an “activation syndrome” (characterized by symptoms of irritability, restlessness, emotional labiality, etc.) that may represent an intermediary state change that fosters suicidality. SSRI-induced activation syndrome is well-accepted by many clinicians and thought to be relatively common, particularly in children and teens. However, gaps exist in empirical data on phenomenology and tools for early detection. With this in mind, we report on a recently funded National Institutes of Health grant to develop a measure of behavioral activation to be completed in a clinical setting. We discuss the development of this measure—the Treatment-Emergent Activation and Suicidality Assessment Profile (TE-ASAP)—as well as psychometric results from a sample of youth with internalizing disorders who were at varying stages of SSRI treatment. Overall, psychometric data were quite promising, with the TE-ASAP demonstrating excellent reliability (i.e., internal consistency, inter-rater, short-term test–retest stability) and strong validity properties. Through further evaluation of the TE-ASAP in the context of a controlled multimodal trial in youth with obsessive–compulsive disorder, we hope to augment understanding of activation syndrome and, in turn, mitigate risks through early detection of this potentially lifethreatening adverse effect.

Keywords

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors Activation syndrome Behavioral activation Obsessive–compulsive syndrome