About This Product
BY IRWIN A. HYMAN, EDD, ABPP, NCSP, PAMELA A. SNOOK, MSN, PHD, JOHN M. BERNA, PHD, JOSEPH DUCETTE, PHD, AND MELINDA A. KOHR, PHD
The Child's Point of View
Most instruments that are used to diagnose posttraumatic stress disorder in children rely on information from adults. And few address developmental issues specific to youth.
Now there's an alternative. My Worst Experience Scale (MWES) lets children and teens speak for themselves. This self-report scale asks them about symptoms that are typically experienced by young people following a traumatic event. In addition, the MWES conforms to standard diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
Designed for 9- to 18-year-olds, the MWES is composed of two sections. Part I asks respondents to indicate which of 21 events--including natural disasters, divorce, assault, abuse, loss, and school problems--was their worst experience, and to answer 6 questions about the nature of that experience. (If the event chosen involves school, they can provide more detailed information by completing a supplementary form, the School Trauma and Alienation Survey.) Part II then asks respondents to indicate the frequency and duration of 105 thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that they may have experienced after the traumatic event.
A Look at Symptoms Plus PTSD Diagnostic Criteria
The MWES can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes by any child or teen who reads at a third-grade level or better. Responses to Part II yield the following scores:
Inconsistent Responding Index
DSM-IV Criteria Scores
Impact of the Event
Re-experiencing the Trauma
Avoidance and Numbing
Both standard scores and percentile ranks are provided. Whether you choose hand or computer scoring, you'll get a clear picture of the child's symptoms, with clinically significant and/or extreme distress noted. In addition, you'll get a clear-cut "yes-or-no" indication of whether or not the child meets each of six DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
Group Screening of Symptom Monitoring
The MWES helps identify PTSD in children, whether it is caused by events traditionally viewed as traumatic or those only recently considered traumatic, such as excessive spanking, bullying, or divorce. In addition, the MWES can be used to monitor symptom change during clinical interventions. Easy to administer and score, the test can be given not only to individual children but also to large groups as part of a mental health audit following school tragedies or other disastrous events.