Developing a Brief Behavior Rating Scale for Progress Monitoring of Depression in School Settings

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Frequent formative assessment of students’ functioning, or progress monitoring, is a critical component of multi-tiered systems of support as data inform data-driven decisions about response to treatment. Progress monitoring tools for students’ academic and behavioral functioning are readily available and widely researched; however, despite the documented prevalence of depressive disorders among youth and that schools have been put forth as an ideal location for the delivery of mental health services, there are currently no progress monitoring tools to examine students’ response to interventions that target depression. To address this gap, this study sought to develop a progress monitoring assessment of students’ depressive symptoms using an empirically informed model for creating Brief Behavior Rating Scales (BBRS). Using this model, a four-item BBRS of depressive symptoms (BBRS-D) was created from the item pools of the Beck Depression Inventory for Youth (BDI-Y) and Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) administered during a treatment study of depression in female youth; the resulting short scale corresponds well to the full-length assessments (i.e., r = .65 and r = .59); however, the BBRS-D possessed lower than adequate internal consistency (α = .50) and test–retest reliability (r = .56). Limitations and future directions are discussed.

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Assessment for Effective Intervention

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