The DAWBA interview for 11-17 year olds themselves


This page provides an overview of the DAWBA self-report interview for 11-17 year olds. If you want to see or download a PDF version of the interview in English or translation, click here. Note that these are suitable for e.g. showing to ethics committees, to provide an indicative sense of interview content. However it is not recommended that these are administered as they are often obsolete and cannot be scored using the validated DAWBA algorithm.

If you have already read about the parent interview, the self-report DAWBA interview for 11-17 year olds is very similar. One major difference between the self-report and parent interviews is that young people are asked less about inattention, hyperactivity and oppositionality – these are areas where young people often lack perspective on their own difficulties. Another major difference is that young people are asked more about the subjective accompaniments of panic attacks or potentially psychotic experiences – they will clearly know much more than their parents about these.

Most of the DAWBA sections cover one type of mental health problem. These sections have a similar structure:

  • There is a brief introduction to give the young person a mental picture of what the section is about.
  • There are usually one or two screening questions to see if it is worth going any further. If the screening questions are positive, or if the young person reported related problems in the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), then the interview continues. If not, the rest of the section in skipped.
  • The young person is asked in detail about the presence and severity of symptoms in that domain. When symptoms are definitely present, the interview continues. When they are not, then the rest of the section is omitted.
  • Young people may be asked about how long symptoms have been present, and when they started.
  • When there are definite symptoms, young people are asked about the impact of symptoms on themselves, their family and other people. The domain-specific impact questions cover overall distress and interference with family life, learning, friendships and leisure activities.
  • The information elicited by the structured questions about symptoms and impact is supplemented by semi-structured information. If definite symptoms are identified by the structured questions, open-ended questions and supplementary prompts are used to get young people to describe the problems in their own words. These descriptions are typed into text boxes by the young people, or are transcribed verbatim by the interviewers. Interviewers are also encouraged to provide additional comments, where appropriate, on young people’s understanding and motivation. Some research studies choose to omit the open-ended questions to save time, relying just on the computerized diagnostic predictions. Clinics nearly always choose to include the open-ended questions, finding the answers particularly helpful for their diagnostic judgements.

The time frame of the interview is the present and the recent past. For many disorders, ICD-10 and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria stipulate that the symptoms need to have persisted for a specified number of months, e.g. a minimum of 6 months for hyperactivity, oppositional-defiant disorder and generalised anxiety disorders. In these instances, the relevant sections of the DAWBA interview focus on the young person’s symptoms over this stipulated period. The longest time frame is for conduct disorder since DSM-IV criteria involve the number of relevant behaviours displayed over the previous 12 months. At the opposite extreme, the time frame is just the last month for most of the emotional disorders since respondents often find it hard to report emotional symptoms accurately for longer periods.