The PAS-ADD (Psychiatric Assessment Schedule for Adults with a Developmental Disability) checklist is a 25 item questionnaire which uses non technical language and was designed to be used by support staff and families. The thinking was that it was these groups of people who spent the most time with the disabled person and so would have a good idea about how and when their behaviour might change. The checklist is used to see whether there is a need for further assessment of an individual’s mental health, although it can also be used to screen groups or for regular monitoring of people considered at risk of mental ill health.
The researchers in this study used the checklist to help explore the possible relationships between the presence of symptoms of psychiatric disorder and challenging behaviours in people with learning disabilities.
They worked with people in 800 service settings in a single geographical area using the checklist as a screening tool. They were looking for people identified in those services as having challenging behaviour. They collected behavioural data, PAS-ADD checklist information and they also used the Adaptive Behaviour Scale (a measure of personal and social skills for everyday living)
They found that under 17% of participants reached threshold scores on one on more subscales of the PAS-ADD checklist.
In terms of associations they found some evidence that increasing behavioural severity might be associated with increasing psychiatric symptoms.
However, they did not find any evidence of any associations between specific forms of challenging behaviour and individual symptoms.
The authors conclude that their study adds to the existing view from the evidence that
it is unlikely that the majority of challenging behaviours in adults with intellectual disability are underpinned by psychiatric disorder.
Screening for Psychiatric Disorders in a Total Population of Adults with Intellectual Disability and Challenging Behaviour Using the PAS-ADD Checklist, Allen D et al., in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 342–349.