The Youth Online Diagnostic Assessment (YODA): Validity of a New Tool to Assess Anxiety Disorders in Youth


This study developed an online diagnostic tool for anxiety disorders in youth, and evaluated its reliability and validity amongst 297 children aged 6–16 years (Mage = 9.34, 46% male). Parents completed the online tool, the Youth Online Diagnostic Assessment (YODA), which is scored either using a fully-automated algorithm, or combined with clinician review. In addition, parents and children completed a clinician-administered diagnostic interview and self-report measures of internalizing and externalizing symptoms and wellbeing. The fully-automated YODA demonstrated relatively weak agreement with the diagnostic interview for identifying the presence of any anxiety disorder and specific anxiety disorders, apart from separation anxiety (which had moderate agreement). The clinician-reviewed YODA showed better agreement than fully-automated scoring, particularly for identifying the presence of any anxiety disorder. The YODA demonstrated good agreement with parent-reported measures of symptoms/interference. The YODA offers a fully or largely automated method to determine the presence of anxiety disorders in youth, with particular value in situations where low-resource assessments are needed. While it currently requires further research and improvement, the YODA provides a promising start to the development of such a tool.

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    A version reflecting DSM-5 criteria and a youth-report YODA are also being developed.

  2. 2.

    The same pattern of results emerged for correlations between symptom and interference measures and number of anxiety disorders across both tools [i.e., using YODA algorithm, YODA clinician-review and ADIS (parent-only or combined report)].


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We would like to thank the research staff and clinicians who worked on this project, and the families who participated.


This research was supported by National Health and Medical Research Council Grant APP1027556.

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Correspondence to Lauren F. McLellan.

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McLellan, L.F., Kangas, M., Rapee, R.M. et al. The Youth Online Diagnostic Assessment (YODA): Validity of a New Tool to Assess Anxiety Disorders in Youth. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 52, 270–280 (2021).

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  • Anxiety disorders
  • Internet
  • Assessment
  • Diagnosis