School-based assessment of mental health risk in children: the preliminary development of the Child RADAR

John R. Burns, Ronald M. Rapee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Screening young people for risk of mental health difficulties in schools is an effective method to facilitate monitoring and early intervention. This study is a preliminary report on the adaptation of the Youth RADAR screening instrument for primary school children. Specifically designed to be used in schools, the Child RADAR assesses a child's balance of risk and protective factors known to be associated with the development of mental health problems. Method: Three hundred and thirty-nine children drawn from six primary schools across NSW, Australia, completed the alpha version of the Child RADAR in addition to an assessment of depression and anxiety symptoms and subjective well-being. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis revealed the Child RADAR to have an acceptable factor structure. Reliability for the Total Child RADAR was satisfactory based on both internal consistency (α = .86) and test-retest reliability (r = .85). Convergent validity was demonstrated through significant associations with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Conclusions: The Child RADAR shows preliminary promise as a school-based screener of mental health risk. Further evaluation is required to demonstrate the generalizability of the instrument across different populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number1
Early online date2 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • screening
  • early intervention
  • rating scales
  • risk factors


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