COSMIN database

Assessing psychosocial well-being of adolescents: a systematic review of measuring instruments

Tsang, K. L., Wong, P. Y., and Lo, S. K.
BACKGROUND: The paradigm shift from the clinically deficit-oriented approach to that of educationally strength-based model in assessing adolescents' psychosocial well-being has brought about a recent increase in school-based health promotion and prevention initiatives. This prompted this systematic review of measuring instruments designed to assess psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents.

METHODS: Using electronic databases on Academic Search Premier, MEDLINE, PROQUEST, PsycINFO, CINAHL Plus and Psychosocial and Health Instrument, a systematic review of literature of measuring instruments was conducted from their inception to December 2009 using the keywords of child, emotion, assessment, scale and measure. Measuring instruments from selected articles were critically appraised using a predetermined set of quality indicators which guided the rating of the psychometric properties of the instruments into grades of A, B, and C. The constructs of psychosocial well-being from the measuring instruments were categorized into themes.

RESULTS: Twenty-nine out of the 908 articles met the inclusion criteria. Seventeen instruments identified from the selected articles were examined using preset quality indicators. In construct building, the themes identified from the strength-based instruments distinguished the construct of psychosocial well-being primarily into the dimensions of personal emotional competency and social functioning. In the ratings of psychometric properties, one instrument was rated 5A, five rated 4A and four rated 3A. For reliability testing, eight measures received grade A when their intraclass correlation is higher than 0.7; whereas only two instruments reported sensitivity and none investigated responsiveness.

CONCLUSIONS: Strength-based measures focusing on social emotional behavioural outcomes open up a possibility to link up assessment with promotion of psychosocial well-being, away from clinical settings and into adolescents' homes, schools and community. Future research should focus more on investigating the sensitivity and responsiveness of measuring instruments using longitudinal design in efficacy studies to assess change in adolescents' psychosocial status over extended time.
Child Care Health Dev
1365-2214 (Electronic)
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Cognitive/mental state
Children (0-18)
Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period and related symptoms
Certain infections and parasitic diseases and related symptoms
Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities and related symptoms
Diseases of and symptoms related to the blood and blood-forming organs and certain disorders involving the immune mechanism
Diseases of and symptoms related to the circulatory system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the digestive system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the ear and mastoid process
Diseases of and symptoms related to the eye and adnexa
Diseases of and symptoms related to the genitourinary system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
Diseases of and symptoms related to the nervous system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the respiratory system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the skin and subcutaneous tissue
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases and related symptoms
External causes of morbidity and mortality
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes
Mental and behavioural disorders and related symptoms
Neoplasms and related symptoms
Pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium and related symptom
Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
2 - Interviews
4 - Performance-based tests
6 - Clinical rating scales
7 - Observations
AFARS – Affect and Arousal Scale
AIR-Y – Affect Intensity and Reactivity Scale for Youth
BERS-2 – Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (Version Two)
BOS – Behavioral Objective Sequence
CPDS – Child Psychosocial Distress Screener
CSMS – Children’s Sadness Management Scale
DECA – Devereux Early Childhood Assessment
DESSA – Devereux Student Strengths Assessment
DLSS – Daily Life Stressors Scale
EBS – Emotional Behavior Scale
EESC – Emotion Expression Scale for Children
LEAS-C – Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children
PANAS(-C) - Positive and Negative Affect Scale (for Children)
Q-Scale – Emotional Regulation Q-Scale
R-Scales – Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents
SDQ - Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (versions: SDQ Children and Adolescents; SDQ Youth)
SIS – Security in the Interparental Subsystem