Objectives In order to assist mental health services in developing countries, a key issue is the availability of psychometrically sound, brief, and cost-effective measures that have been tested within the relevant context. The present study was designed to evaluate within a young Bangladeshi population, the psychometric properties of two widely used Western measures of internalizing distress in young people: the short form of the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale and the Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire. Method The sample included 1,360 children and adolescents aged 9-17 years (M = 12.3 years, SD = 2.12) recruited from six districts of Bangladesh, including both community and emotionally at-risk participants. A total of 179 children were re-tested on the measures within 3-4 weeks. Results Confirmatory factor analyses showed single-factor structures for both scales in the total sample and in both community and at-risk participants separately. Multiple group analyses across gender and age-group within the at-risk and community samples showed that the single-factor structure was suitable regardless of subgroup. Analyses also indicated acceptable internal consistency, test-retest reliability and construct validity for both scales. Conclusion The two measures show promise as brief, reliable, and valid instruments for the assessment of internalizing distress among young people from Bangla-speaking communities. Practitioner points Positive clinical implications These two measures of internalizing distress in young people showed solid psychometric properties within samples collected from various parts of Bangladesh. The measures can therefore be used to assess anxiety and depression in Bangla-speaking youth. These measures should be of value in both clinical settings and at a community level to assess the need for services. Cautions and limitations Resource limitations did not allow comparison against diagnostic criteria and therefore cut-off scores to indicate clinical status among Bangladeshi youth will require further research.
- Internalizing problems