Using the K-SADS psychosis screen to identify people with early psychosis or psychosis risk syndromes

Thomas Tsuji, Peter Phalen, Pamela Rakhshan Rouhakhtar, Zachary Millman, Kristin Bussell, Elizabeth Thompson, Caroline Demro, Caroline Roemer, Gloria Reeves, Jason Schiffman
Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2019 May 16, : 1359104519846582

BACKGROUND: Current methods to identify people with psychosis risk involve administration of specialized tools such as the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS), but these methods have not been widely adopted. Validation of a more multipurpose assessment tool-such as the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS)-may increase the scope of identification efforts.

METHODS: We assessed the correspondence between SIPS-determined clinical high risk/early psychosis (CHR/early psychosis) status and K-SADS psychosis screen (child and parent reports and their combination) in a sample of 147 help-seeking individuals aged 12-25. Detailed classification results are reported.

RESULTS: Both the child and parent interviews on the K-SADS psychosis screen were strongly predictive of CHR/early psychosis status, although parent reports contributed no significant additional information beyond child reports. Across informants, the presence of either subthreshold hallucinations or subthreshold delusions was highly suggestive of CHR/early psychosis status as determined by SIPS interview (78% (child) and 74% (parent) accuracy).

CONCLUSIONS: Subthreshold scores on the two-item K-SADS psychosis screen may be good indicators of the presence or absence of early signs of psychosis. The option of using a non-specialized assessment such as the K-SADS as a staged approach to assess for CHR/early psychosis status could increase rates of early psychosis screening and treatment.

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