Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 247–258 | Cite as

Psychological Adjustment of Adolescents in Residential Care: Comparative Analysis of Youth Self-Report/Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

  • Sónia RodriguesEmail author
  • Maria Barbosa-Ducharne
  • Jorge F. Del Valle
  • Joana Campos


Residential care (RC) in Portugal accounts for almost 90% of out-of-home placements of children. Since the Youth Self-Report (YSR) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) are the most commonly used psychological (mal)adjustment screening instruments, it is important to analyze their comparative validity specifically in the context of RC. This study aims to analyze the comparative effectiveness of YSR/SDQ as screening tools of psychological (mal)adjustment, looking for differences in the way psychological problems and difficulties are identified by these two measures in adolescents in RC. Sixty-one adolescents, aged 12–20, living in five RC settings participated in this study. Participants’ characteristics at the time of admission were collected using the previous request for infomation (PIP) from the Portuguese Comprehensive Assessment System for Residential Care Quality (ARQUA-P). Participants filled out both the YSR and the self-report form of SDQ. Significant correlations between the two self-report measures of adolescents’ psychological adjustment were observed. Additionally, the utility of each measure differed based on youngsters’ characteristics, potentially supporting the simultaneous use of both instruments. Implications for further research and professional practice in RC are discussed, namely the differential utility of using YSR and/or SDQ as a screening tool with this population.


Residential care Psychological adjustment of adolescents in residential care Mental health of adolescents in residential care Youth Self-Report (YSR) Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) 



This research project was partially funding by a philanthropic program of independent patrons and by a Foundation for Science and Technology grant (Grant No. PD/BD/114267/2016).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Sónia Rodrigues, Maria Barbosa-Ducharne, Jorge F. Del Valle, Joana Campos declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto Ethical Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Education SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty PsychologyUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain

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