Measurement Issues: Measures of infant mental health
Background: Emotional and behavioural problems emerging in very young children can represent a challenge to the child and family and warrant early identification and appropriate support or intervention. Diagnostic systems are being developed that allow for specific difficulties to be identified and this review summarizes them. Scope: This evidenced based review describes the psychometric properties and potential for use in clinical practice of a range of instruments and methods that are available to identify infant mental health difficulties, and which may be suitable for use in primary care settings, including observations, questionnaires and checklists. Findings and Conclusion: While debate continues about whether infant mental health problems can or should be identified, the use of standardized tools may help clinicians to compare observations of infants so that those emerging as atypical can receive additional attention, reflecting a more targeted approach to primary care services.