Identifying Mental Health Issues in Detained Youth: Testing the Structure and Invariance of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Inventory–Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

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Abstract

This study examined the factor structure of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument–Version 2 (MAYSI-2), a brief self-report measure designed to flag clinically significant mental health needs among youth entering the juvenile justice system. Participants were 981 detained youth in the southeastern United States (mean age = 14.58 years; SD = 1.28 years; 67.5% male; 71.5% African American). Confirmatory factor analyses showed that a seven-factor model represented a satisfactory solution for the data, similar to previous research. The factor structure fit well across gender, age group, race (Black/White), and offense type (violent/nonviolent). Given the widespread use of the MAYSI-2 in juvenile justice settings, examining its psychometric properties is of key importance. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.

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