Validation of the “early detection Primary Care Checklist” in an Italian community help-seeking sample: The “checklist per la Valutazione dell’Esordio Psicotico”

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To establish the concordant validity of the “Checklist per la Valutazione dell’Esordio Psicotico” (CVEP) in an Italian help-seeking population. The CVEP is the Italian adaptation of the “early detection Primary Care Checklist,” a 20-item tool specifically designed to assist primary care practitioners in identifying young people in the early stages of psychosis.


The checklist was completed by the referring practitioners of 168 young people referred to the “Reggio Emilia At Risk Mental States” Project, an early detection infrastructure developed under the aegis of the Regional Project on Early Detection of Psychosis in the Reggio Emilia Department of Mental Health. The concordant validity of the CVEP was established by comparing screen results with the outcome of the “Comprehensive Assessment of At Risk Mental States” (CAARMS), a gold standard assessment for identifying young people who may be at risk of developing psychosis.


The simple checklist as originally conceived had excellent sensitivity (98%), but lower specificity (58%). Using only a CVEP total score of 20 or above as cut-off, the tool showed a slightly lower sensitivity (93%) with a substantial improvement in specificity (87%). Simple cross-tabulations of the individual CVEP item scores against CAARMS outcome to identify the more discriminant item in terms of sensitivity and specificity were carried out.


In comparison to other, much longer, screening tools, the CVEP performed well to identify young people in the early stages of psychosis. Therefore, the CVEP is well suited to optimize appropriate referrals to specialist services, building on the skills and knowledge already available in primary care settings.

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