<< Back

Independent TEENSCREEN Evaluation Research Project

FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

 

Comments and Evaluations

Jim Grapek, President, Associated Producers, Inc. (API)  “Producing programs to improve our health and quality of life.”  (301) 565-2170 www.associatedproducers.com

 

My comments in blue:

 “In reviewing the Teen Screen questionnaire, I noticed several things right away:

First, many of the questions were vague in that they didn’t ask for causes.  For example, “Were you uncomfortable over the last three months” or “Did you experience other aches or pains” where questions that only called for a yes or no answer.  Any causes are left up to the reviewers to decide – which they are not qualified to give.  For example, many adolescents are naturally shy at this time in their lives – some are bullied or made fun of.  In either case, their comfort levels have nothing to do with depression or mental health.

Second, I see no mention of prescription drugs anywhere.  In the “abuse” section they are not listed as an option, and in the other sections, they are not even mentioned as a possible cause to how a teen might be feeling.  In light of recent FDA warnings and the associated risks with many of these anti-depressants and the drugs prescribed for ADHD, the test needs to at least include questions that indicate which medication(s) a teen might be taking and over what period of time.

Third, as a father who has spent quite a bit of time with children – and who, as a teen, struggled through those years myself,  (I moved to a new town and was not readily accepted by the “in crowd”), I see many of these questions pointing out behaviors that are quite normal for that age group – rather than exceptional.

I would also like to know whom the qualified personnel are, if the school has access to these answers, who else this information may be shared with, and most importantly, how the tests are scored and by whom.

My assessment:  The way it is currently designed, this test is not capable of performing any kind of honest mental health screening, and in fact, would most likely have serious and harmful repercussions if used as it stands.  (Note, I have included a few specific comments following some of the questions, but I felt there was no need to do this extensively since I’ve summarized the nature of them here.)

 

Diagnostic Predictive Scales   DPS-8 (Youth)

“This interview (survey) is designed to be used by qualified professional as an aid to diagnosis.  It is not a substitute for a thorough clinical evaluation”.

 

1. “Who spent the most time taking care of you in the past 3 months?

Both parents

Mother, only

Father, only

Grandparents (s)

Sister/brother

Aunt/uncle

Foster parents

Other adult”

2.      “In the last three months did you have trouble seeing the chalkboard”?

3.      “Do you wear glasses”?

4.      “Have you seen an eye doctor about this”?

5.      “In the last three months….did you have a toothache”?

6.      “Have you seen a dentist about this”? 

Questions 1 – 6 leave out too much information as written – unless the kids are instructed to write a few sentences that are explanatory.  For example, maybe they did experience a toothache and it went away.  Maybe they had gone through dental work earlier and been told they might experience some minor pain now and then – something perfectly normal.  What is the point of these questions?  

SECTION A

1.  “In the last three months….have you often felt very nervous and uncomfortable when you have been with a group of children…say, in the lunchroom at school or at a party”?

As I wrote in my original statement, this is an excellent example of what is often normal behavior in a teen. 

2.      “Have you often felt very nervous when you had to do things in front of  people”?

Even adults get nervous in front of groups.  This question serves no purpose.  It is normal behavior.

 

SECTION B

1.      “For this question, I want to know if you have ever had a sudden attack of feeling very afraid.   In the kind of attack, I mean someone becomes very afraid even though there is nothing around them to frighten them.  Sometimes they feel they can’t breathe…sometimes their heart beats very fast.  The attacks come on very suddenly, then goes away, but they get afraid that the attacks might come back. In the last three months have you had an attack when all of a sudden you felt you were very afraid or strange”?  

2.      “Have you had a time when you were suddenly feeling like you were suffocating or you couldn’t breathe”?

3.      “Do you have asthma”?

4.      “The only time you felt afraid or couldn’t breathe was when you were having an asthma attack”?

 

SECTION C

5.      “In the last three months….Have often worried a lot before you were going to play a sport or game or some other activity Have you had a lot of headaches”?

These seem like they should be two distinct questions, with reasons attached to each one.  (Maybe the headaches were from not drinking enough water?  Where is the question about water consumption and the types of food and diet eaten?  Maybe their glasses need to be changed, right?

6.      “In the last three months have you had other aches and pains”? 

 

7.      “Are you the kind of person who is often very tense, or finds it very hard to relax”? 

 The schools today MAKE kids tense.  No talking is allowed in the halls or lunchrooms in many public schools, the test pressures are enormous… this is the normal state of affairs.  Take away the poorly designed and unnecessary standardized tests, put the arts back in the classrooms and stop all of the Gestapo-like discipline and like magic, the tension will disappear.  www.geocities.com/stophsa (link opens in new window)

 

SECTION D

 

8.      “Some young people have times when one thought comes into the mind over and over again. When people have these thoughts they usually get upset, because the thoughts are strange.  No matter how hard they try the thoughts keep on coming back.

Now I am going to ask you if you have had thoughts like these in the last three months.  Have you had to count things over and over again? Or make yourself do things a certain number of times”?

9.      “In the last three months…was there a time when you washed your hands or body over and over again or changed your clothes many times each day because you thought they were dirty”?

10. “Have you often felt you should check on things over and over again? For example:  checking that the front door is locked…or the stove is turned off or that something else was done, though you knew it had been done”?

11. “In the last three months….have you often worried that things you touch                                    are dirty or have germs”?

This is what we are taught.  Why is there now a proliferation of  

antibacterial soap on the market?  The “healthy” answer is “yes”.

12.“Have you had any other thoughts that kept coming into your mind over and over again that you couldn’t get rid of”?

 

1.      “In the last three months…

Have you done things like counting, checking, washing, over and over again because you like to do these things”?

2.      “Have you done these things like counting, checking, washing, over and over again, only because you’ve been told by someone else to make sure that you’ve done them right”?

3.       “In the last three months…

Have you wished you could stop yourself doing things like counting, checking or washing over and over again”?

11. “Have you spent a lot of time each day doing things like counting, checking or washing over and over again…say, for as long as an hour”?

 

SECTION E

12.  “In the last three months…

Has there been a time when nothing was fun for you and you just weren’t interested in anything”?

 

13.  “Has there been a time when you had less energy than you usually do”?

This is an absurd question.  Even men have natural body rhythms and cycles.  At different times of the month – every day, in fact, we operate at different energy levels.

14. “Has there been a time when you felt you couldn’t do anything well or that you weren’t as good-looking or as smart as other people”?

When HAVEN’T kids, teens or even adults felt this way at some point?  I felt very insecure and inferior as a teen.  I did very well growing out of it without the need for any medication and today enjoy a balanced, successful life.

15.  “In the last three months…

Has there been a time when you thought seriously about killing yourself”?

Here is where I believe questions about medications kids have been prescribed and their medication history needs to be inserted.

 

16.  “Have you tried to kill yourself in the last year”?

17.   “Has there been a time when doing even the little things made you feel really tired”?

Again, I don’t see any questions here which address the more important causes of this – and their health, in general – and those questions are with regard to their diets and nutrition.

   18.   “In the last three months…

Has there been a time when you couldn’t think as clearly or as fast as usual”?

I have just asked you about the last three months.  Now, I want you to think about the last year”.

 

SECTION F

 

19.  “The next questions are about you use of alcohol-beer, wine, wine coolers, or hard liquors like vodka, gin or whiskey.  Each can or bottle of beer, glass of wine or wine cooler, shot of liquor, or mixed drink with liquor it counts as one drink.

In the last year…Have you had six or more drinks”?

 

20.  “Did you get in trouble with the police when you were drunk or because you had been drinking”?

21.  “In the last years… 

22.  Did you get into arguments with your family or friends because of

drinking”?  “Did you miss school to go drinking or because you were hung over”?

 

SECTION G

22.  “In the last year…

Have you used marijuana six or more times”?

 

23.  “Did you miss school to use marijuana or because you were too high

      on marijuana to go to school”?

24.   “In the last year…

Did you get into arguments with your friends and family because you were using marijuana”?

 

SECTION H

25.  “Have you used any opiates to get high.  This includes things like codeine, Demerol, morphine, Percodan, methadone, Darvon, opium, Delaudid, Talwin and so on”.

“In the last year…

Have you used any of these to get high””?

26.  Have you used any kind of hallucinogen? This includes LSD or “acid”, mescaline, peyote, DMT, psilocybin and so on.  Have you used one of these?

27.   In the last year…

“Have you used stimulants or amphetamines…like speed, diet pills, Benzedrine, methamphetamine or anything like that to get high”?

28.  “Have you used cocaine or ‘crack’?”

29.  “In the last year…Have you used heroin”?

30.  “Have you used PCP or “Angel Dust”?

31.   “In the last year…Have you used ecstasy”?

32.  “Have you used any inhalants…like glue, cleaning fluid, gasoline or paint to get high”?

 

33.  “How often did your parents feel worried or concerned about the way you were feeling or acting?

a.       A lot of the time

b.      Some of the time

c.       Hardly ever

d.      Not at al”

 

34.  “Were they worried or concerned because of:

a.       You were feeling anxious or worried?

b.      You were feeling sad or depressed?

c.       Problems with your behavior?

d.      Problems with alcohol or drugs?

e.       Other things you did?

35.  How often did you parents get annoyed or upset with you because of the way you were feeling or acting?

a.       A lot of the time

b.      Some of the time

c.       Hardly ever

d.      Not at all

36.  Were they annoyed or upset because of:

a.       You were feeling anxious or worried?

b.      You were feeling sad or depressed?

c.       Problems with your behavior?

d.      Problems with alcohol or drugs?

e.       Other things you did?

37.  How often were you not able to do things or go places with your family because of the way you felt or acted?

a.       A lot of the time

b.      Some of the time

c.       Hardly ever

d.      Not at all

 

38.  Were you not able to do things or go places because:

a.       You were feeling anxious or worried?

b.      You were feeling sad or depressed?

c.       Problems with your behavior?

d.      Problems with alcohol or drugs?

e.       Other things you did?

 

39.  How often did the way you were feeling or acting make it difficult to do your schoolwork or cause problems with your grades?

a.       A lot of the time

b.      Some of the time

c.       Hardly ever

d.      Not at all

40.  Did you have problems with your schoolwork or grades because of:

a.       You were feeling anxious or worried?

b.      You were feeling sad or depressed?

c.       Problems with your behavior?

d.      Problems with alcohol or drugs?

e.       Other things you did?

 

41.  How often were your teachers annoyed or upset with you because of the way you were feeling or acting?

a.       A lot of the time

b.      Some of the time

c.       Hardly ever

d.      Not at all

 

42.  Were you teachers annoyed or upset because of:

a.       You were feeling anxious or worried?

b.      You were feeling sad or depressed?

c.       Problems with your behavior?

d.      Problems with alcohol or drugs?

e.       Other things you did?

 

43.  How often did the way you were feeling or acting make you feel bad or feel upset?

a.       A lot of the time

b.      Some of the time

c.       Hardly ever

d.      Not at all

 

44.  Did you feel bad or upset because of:

a.       You were feeling anxious or worried?

b.      You were feeling sad or depressed?

c.       Problems with your behavior?

d.      Problems with alcohol or drugs?

e.       Other things you did?

                 END

 

Fair Use Notice Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
This material is distributed without profit.
 
 

For more information or to help us build this site, contact us