Validating the Ohio Scales in a Juvenile Justice Sample of Youth with Behavioral Health Issues

Abstract

Between 65 and 75 % of juvenile-justice involved (JJI) youth present with at least one behavioral health disorder. Many communities have developed diversion programs that provide behavioral health services to JJI youth, often in lieu of detention. A key component of successful diversion programming is accurate screening and assessment. The Ohio Scales, a validated instrument designed to track service effectiveness in clinical samples of youth, are now being used with juvenile justice populations. The purpose of this study is to validate the Ohio Scales in a JJI youth population (N = 2246). The population (ages 12–18) is derived from Ohio’s Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice Initiative, a diversion program for JJI youth with behavioral health issues. We conducted Confirmatory Factor Analyses (CFA) on all forms of the Ohio Scales (parent, youth and worker) to measure fit for one factor, four factor and four factor second order solutions. We also conducted an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) on the Problem Severity factor in the youth form to determine the number of appropriate sub-factors. The EFA indicated that the Problem Severity factor should be broken into three hypothesized sub-factors: Externalizing, Internalizing and Delinquency. The CFA confirmed this solution. CFA results indicated the four factor second order solution fits superior to the other two solutions. Using the Ohio Scales Problem Severity measure as a three sub-factor measure may increase clinical applicability by allowing a clinician to specifically measure and target externalizing or internalizing issues during treatment.

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Correspondence to Krystel Tossone.

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Tossone, K., Kretschmar, J., Butcher, F. et al. Validating the Ohio Scales in a Juvenile Justice Sample of Youth with Behavioral Health Issues. J Child Fam Stud 25, 1218–1228 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0302-8

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Keywords

  • Juvenile justice
  • Behavioral health
  • Screening
  • Ohio Scales
  • Factor analysis