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Psychiatry Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 517527, 5 pages
Research Article

Improving Screening Cut-Off Scores for DSM-5 Adolescent Anxiety Disorder Symptom Dimensions with the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders

1Research Center Adolescent Development, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
2Department of Development Psychology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
3Department of Development Psychology, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90.153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands

Received 28 August 2013; Revised 22 November 2013; Accepted 6 December 2013; Published 29 January 2014

Academic Editor: Mark Shevlin

Copyright © 2014 William W. Hale III et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Presently most adolescent anxiety disorder screening instruments make their determination of running a high risk for an anxiety disorder on the basis of a cut-off score measured by a single screening which can lead to false positives. Therefore, the goal of this study is to examine whether a repeated administration of the SCARED screening instrument for DSM-5 anxiety disorder symptoms could help in the detection of true positives while also avoiding false positives. Participants were 923 early adolescents from the general community. The adolescents’ ages at the first annual screening ranged from 10 to 15 with an average of 12.5 years. In a prospective five-year longitudinal design, the adolescents completed the SCARED screening instrument for anxiety disorder symptoms on a yearly basis. To detect true positives and avoid false positives, the data were analyzed with Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) cut-off score analyses. ROC cut-off score analyses revealed that the sensitivity and specificity of high risk were greatly improved for repeated screenings above those of a single screening. The findings of this study demonstrate that a screening instrument (such as the SCARED) should be administered not just once but several times in order to better determine true positives and avoid false positives.