• Journal Article

Assessing the strengths of children referred for community-based mental health services

Citation

Walrath, C. M., Mandell, D. S., Holden, E., & Santiago, R. L. (2004). Assessing the strengths of children referred for community-based mental health services. Mental Health Services Research, 6(1), 1-8.

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between child strengths and functional impairment, specifically whether youth with greater levels of functional impairment also exhibit strengths. The relationship was investigated for children (N = 1,838) of different genders, ages, race, and ethnic backgrounds and whose families were living at different income levels. A moderate relationship was found between child strengths and functional impairment. Those children with even the most severe functional impairment were rated as having average or near average strengths. With the exception of gender, the relationship between impairment and strengths did not differ as a function of demographic characteristics. These findings provide additional support for the construct validity of the Behavioral and Emotional Strengths Rating Scale (M. Epstein & J. Sharma, 1998) and they highlight the need for strength-based assessment and screening for youth entering mental health services. Child strengths as the foundation for service planning and implementation, and other implications are discussed