Predicting Therapeutic Effects of Psychodiagnostic Assessment Among Children and Adolescents Participating in Randomized Controlled Trials

Andrea S. Young, Molly R. Meers, Anthony T. Vesco, Adina M. Seidenfeld, L. Eugene Arnold, Mary A. Fristad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study explored predictors of improvement after completing a psychodiagnostic screening assessment but before randomization among youth who participated in two pilot randomized controlled trials of omega-3 supplementation and Individual-Family Psychoeducational Psychotherapy (PEP). Ninety-five youth (56.8% male, 61.1% White) ages 7–14 with mood disorders completed screening and baseline assessments (including Clinical Global Impressions–Improvement [CGI-I], Children’s Depression Rating Scale–Revised, Young Mania Rating Scale), then were randomized into a 12-week trial of omega-3, PEP, their combination, or placebo. Between screening and randomization, 35.8% minimally improved (CGI-I = 3), 12.6% much improved (CGI-I < 3), totaling 48.4% improved. Caregiver postsecondary education (p = .018), absence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (p = .027), and lower screen depression severity (p = .034) were associated with CGI-I. Caregiver postsecondary education (p = .020) and absence of a disruptive behavior diagnosis (p = .038) were associated with depression severity improvement. Prerandomization improvement moderated treatment outcomes: Among youth who improved prerandomization, those who received PEP (alone or with omega-3) had more favorable placebo-controlled depression trajectories due to a lack of placebo response. This open-label trial of psychodiagnostic assessment provides suggestive evidence that psychodiagnostic assessment is beneficial, especially for those with depression and without externalizing disorders. Prerandomization improvement is associated with better placebo-controlled treatment response. Future research should test alternative hypotheses for change and determine if less intensive (shorter and/or automated) assessments would provide comparable results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S1-S12
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue numbersup1
StatePublished - Mar 29 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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