European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 339–349 | Cite as

The relation of standardized mental health screening and categorical assessment in detained male adolescents

  • Olivier F. Colins
  • Thomas Grisso
  • Eva Mulder
  • Robert Vermeiren
Original Contribution


Having an effective triage tool is an important step toward a careful use of the restricted time and qualified personnel to perform comprehensive psychiatric assessment in juvenile justice settings. The aims of this study were to examine the construct validity of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Inventory—second version (MAYSI-2), and its likelihood to identify youths who might have a psychiatric disorder. Data from up to 781 male adolescents (mean age = 16.73 years) were gathered as part of the standardized mental health screening and assessment in two all-male Youth Detention Centers in the Netherlands. Categorical assessments were based on two structured diagnostic interviews. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and the area under the curve were calculated to evaluate the likelihood of the MAYSI-2 to identify youths with a psychiatric disorder. Youths with a disorder scored significantly higher on the corresponding MAYSI-2 subscale than youths without a disorder. In the total sample, 70 % of the youths with a disorder met the Caution cut-off criteria on at least one MAYSI-2 scale, while youths without a psychiatric disorder were very unlikely to meet cut-off criteria for multiple MAYSI-2 scales. Overall, the sensitivity was slightly better when analyses were repeated in groups of youths from various ethnic origins. The findings supported the construct validity of the Dutch MAYSI-2 and suggested that the MAYSI-2 is a valid mental health screening tool that may serve relatively well as a triage tool. Its effectiveness, however, may differ between ethnic groups.


Mental health Forensic Antisocial Juvenile justice Diagnostic interview 


Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

787_2014_584_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier F. Colins
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas Grisso
    • 3
  • Eva Mulder
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert Vermeiren
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryLeiden University Medical Center, Curium-LUMCLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Academic Workplace Forensic Care for Youth (Academische Werkplaats Forensische Zorg voor Jeugd)ZutphenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolMAUSA
  4. 4.Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, VU Medical Center AmsterdamDuivendrechtThe Netherlands

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