Short Forms of Parent General Behavior Inventory Reliable at Identifying Youth Mood Symptoms

The short forms each displayed diagnostic accuracy comparable with that of the full-length scales.

The diagnostic accuracy of “short-form” versions of parent-rated mania and depression scales are supported by research published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

From the 73-item Parent General Behavior Inventory, researchers developed 10-item short form questionnaires, 1 assessing mania symptoms and 2 assessing depression symptoms. Study participants were families seeking outpatient mental care for children and adolescents between 5 and 18 years old at either an academic medical clinic (n=617) or an urban community mental health facility (n=530). Semistructured interviews assessing affective disorder and schizophrenia symptoms were conducted sequentially with the parent and the child. Additionally, parents completed the Parent General Behavior Inventory to describe their child’s mood symptoms. Diagnostic results from academic patient samples were used to project the performance of the short forms in the community sample. The short-forms results were then externally cross-validated with the community sample.

The short forms each displayed diagnostic accuracy comparable with that of the full-length scales. Researchers identified significant convergent and discriminant validity concerning mood, behavior, and demographic criteria for the short forms. The mania and 2 depression short forms also displayed high reliability across both study samples (each α >.87). Reliability and content coverage remained high across study samples with markedly different demographic characteristics, suggesting the wide applicability of the short form structure. 

Related Articles

These data suggest that short forms adapted from larger symptom assessment scales are a valid diagnostic tool. Short forms may be an inexpensive, less cumbersome alternative to long-form scales and could be of interest to clinicians with high traffic from families seeking treatment for children.


Youngstrom EA, Van Meter A, Frazier TW, Youngstrom JK, Findling RL. Developing and validating short forms of the parent general behavior inventory mania and depression scales for rating youth mood symptoms [published online July 24, 2018]. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. doi:10.1080/15374416.2018.1491006