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MAYSI-2 - Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-2

NOTE: The user manual and technical report cost $125, MAYSIWARE (for electronic administration) costs $279.95.

The MAYSI-2 is a 15-minutes self-report screening tool designed specifically for use in juvenile detention centers. The measure was designed to be administered by detention center staff with minimal training within 2 days of a youth's admission to the facility. There are 5 subscales that have been validated for both boys and girls: Alcohol/Drug Use, Anger-Irritability, Depression-Anxiety, Somatic Complaints, and Suicide Ideation, and a sixth scale, Thought Disturbance, validated only for boys. A seventh scale, Traumatic Experiences, measures lifetime trauma exposure and posttraumatic reactions and contains slightly different items for girls and boys.




Grisso, T., Ph.D., and Barnum, R., M.D.

Grisso, T., & Barnum, R. (2000). Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-2 (MAYSI-2): User's manual and technical report. Worchester, MA: University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Contact Information: 

The measure, manuals, and training can be requested at the following website:

Additional questions can be directed to National Youth Screening and Assessment Project,, University of Massachusets Medical School, Psychiatry Department, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655.

Cost Involved
Domain Assessed: 
Trauma Exposure/Reminders
Anxiety/Mood (Internalizing Symptoms)
Cognition and Development
Age Range: 
Measure Type: 
Measure Format: 


Number of Items: 
Average Time to Complete (min): 
Reporter Type: 
Average Time to Score (min): 
Range: Immediate/Automatic (computerized format), less than 15 minutes (paper/pencil)
Each time a youth is admitted into a juvenile detention facility
Response Format: 


Materials Needed: 
Sample Items: 
Sample Items
Alcohol/Drug Use (8 items)Have you used alcohol or drugs to help you feel better?
Angry-Irritable (9 items)Have you lost your temper easily, or had a "short fuse"?
Depressesd-Anxious (9 items)Have nervous or worried feelings kept you from doing things you want to do?
Somatic Complaints (6 items)Have you had bad headaches?
Suicide Ideation (5 items)Have you felt like killing yourself?
Thought Disturbance (boys only, 5 items)Have you seen things that other people say are not really there?
Traumatic Experiences (differs by gender, 5 items)Have you ever seen someone severely injured or killed (in person- not in movies or on TV)?
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks


Training to Administer: 
Training to Interpret: 

Parallel or Alternate Forms

Parallel Forms: 
Alternate Forms: 
Different Age Forms: 
Altered Version Forms: 


Notes on Psychometric Norms: 

The measure was normed on a national sample of youth detained in juvenile justice facilities in 19 states.

Clinical Cutoffs: 
Clinical Cutoffs Description: 

The measure provides cutoffs for "Caution" (indicating "possible clinical significance") and "Warning" (indicating that "the youth has scored exceptionally high in comparison to other youths in the juvenile justice system). The caution cutoff scores are 4 (Alcohol/Drug use), 5 (Angry/Irritable), 3 (Depressed-Anxious), 3 (Somatic Complaints), 2 (Suicidal Ideation), and 1 (Thought Disturbance, boys only). The warning cutoffs are 7 (Alcohol/Drug use), 8 (Angry-Irritable), 6 (Depressed-Anxious), 6 (Somatic Complaints), 3 (Suicide Ideation), 2 (Thought Disturbance, boys only). NOTE: No cut-off scores have been established for the Traumatic Experiences scale, although information regarding the sensitivity and specificity of possible cut-off scores is presented in Kerig et al. (2011).

Test-Retest (boys)Intraclass Correlation Coefficient0.530.890.74
Test-Retest (girls)Intraclass Correlation Coefficient0.660.850.74
Internal ConsistencyAlpha0.55 (Thought Disturbance, boys only)0.87 (Somatic Complaints)0.77
Parallel/Alternate Forms
Number of Test-Retest Days: 
6-12 (boys, M=8.3; girls, M=5.6)
References for Reliability: 

NOTE: The MAYSI-2 is intended to assess the youth's current functioning at the time of intake into a facility, and is thus not expected to demonstrate reliability across periods of time. Per the MAYSI-2 manual, girls' scores were not significantly different across administrations. For boys, lower scores on Depressed-Anxious, Somatic Complaints, and Thought Disturbance were seen on the second administration. The authors suggest that this difference may be due to a practice effect or to adjustment over time to the detention center environment, and that it is consistent with other measures of youth psychopathology. Archer et al. (2004) retested youth an average of 15 days later and reported correlations between .60 and .82. Cauffman (2004) retested youth after an interval of an average of 111 days and reported reliability correlations ranging from .27 and .70. NOTE: For the Traumatic Experiences scale specifically, alphas range from .60 to .81 with an average .71. See Cauffman and MacIntosh (2006) for an examination of internal consistency and factor structure by race and ethnicity and Ford et al. (2008) for an examination of gender differences. Content Validity Evaluated:

Content Validity Evaluated: 
References for Content Validity: 

Per the MAYSI-2 manual, the subscales of Depressed-Anxious are correlated significantly with Angry-Irritable (r=.61 for girls, .57 for boys), consistent with clinical observations and empirical evidence, and Depressed-Anxious also correlates significantly with Suicide Ideation (r=.53 for girls, .54 for boys), as would be expected.

Construct Validity Evaluated:

Construct Validity Evaluated: 
Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal Samples*Clinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to Changex
Intervention Effectsx
Longitudinal/Maturation Effectsx
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct Groupsxx
Factorial Validityxx
References for Construct Validity: 

* = This measure was designed for youth in juvenile justice settings. Although not a clinical population per se, this is also a group that is distinct from the normative population, in particular because of their high rates of mental health problems, trauma exposure, and posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Criterion Validity Evaluated: 
Criterion Validity: 
Not KnownNot FoundNonclinical SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse SamplesNot applicable
Predictive Validity:x
Postdictive Validity: x
Sensitivity Rate Score: 
In an assessment of the Traumatic Experiences scale specifically, the UCLA Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index for DSM-IV, Adolescent Version (PTSD-RI), was used as the gold standard comparison in a recent study (Kerig, Moeddel, & Becker 2011), w
Specificity Rate Score: 
The UCLA Posttramatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index for DSM-IV, Adolscent Version (PTSD-RI), was used as the gold standard comparison in a recent study (Kerig, Moeddel, and Becker 2011), which found that the TE scale in particular was modestly specific i
Overall Psychometric Limitations: 

The Thought Disturbance scale has validity established only for boys. Other than the Kerig et al. (2011) study, the Traumatic Experiences scale has not been validated.


Translation Quality: 
Language:TranslatedBack TranslatedReliableGood Psychometric PropertiesFactor StructureNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for this Group
1. Arabicxx
2. Dutch (Netherlands)xxx (in progress)x (in progress)
3. Flemishxx
4. French (Canada, France, Switzerland) xxx (Swiss version norming in process)
5. German xx
6. Greekxx
7. Italianxx
8. Koreanxx
9. Norwegianxx
10. Portuguesexx
11. Russianxx
12. Spanish (Spain, Catalan, U.S.) xx
13. Swedishxx
14. Turkishxx
15. Vietnamesexx

Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

This measure was developed for use with youth detained in juvenile justice settings.

Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Medical Trauma
Witness Death
Natural Disaster
Domestic Violence
Community Violence
Traumatic Loss (Death)
Immigration Related Trauma
Other Populations: 
These are polyvictimized youth who may have experiences any or all of the above.

Pros & Cons/References


1. Brief

2. Can be administered by detention center staff without much special training

3. Yes/no answer format is easy for youth

4. Reading level is accessible for youth

5. Warning and caution cutoffs are easy to interpret


1. Traumatic Experiences scale has not been validated and does not have cut-off scores established

2. Research to date indicates only modest sensitivity and specificity for the Traumatic Experiences scale in screening youth who meet criteria for PTSD

3. Thought Disturbance scale not valid for use with girls


Archer, R.P., Stredny, R.V., Mason, J.A., & Arnau, R.C. (2004). An examination and replication of the psychometric properties of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Edition (MAYSI-2) among adolescents in detention settings. Assessment, 11, 290-302.

Butler, M., Loney, B., & Kistner, J. (2007). The Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument as a predictor of institutional maladjustment in severe male juvenile offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 34, 476-492.

Caldwell, R., Sturges, S., & Silver, N. (2006). Home versus school environments and their influences on the affective and behavioral states of African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian juvenile offenders. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 125-138.

Cauffman, E. (2004). A statewide screening of mental health symptoms among juvenile offenders in detention. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 430-439.

Cauffman, E., & MacIntosh, R. (2006). A Rasch differential item functioning analysis of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument. Educational and Psychological Management, 66i, 502-521.

Cruise, K. R., Dandreaux, D. M., Marsee, M. A., & DePrato, D. K. (2008). Identification of critical items on the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-2 (MAYSI-2) in incarcerated youth. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 7, 121-132.

Ford, J., Chapman, J. F., Pearson, G., Borum, R., & Wolpaw, J. M. (2008). Psychometric status and clinical utility of the MAYSI-2 with girls and boys in juvenile detention. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 30, 87-99.

Grisso, T., & Barnum, R. (2006). Massachusetts youth screening instrument version 2: User’s
manual and technical report. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press.

Grisso, T., Barnum, R., Fletcher, K. E., Cauffman, E., & Peuschold, D. (2001). Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument for Mental Health Needs of Juvenile Justice Youths. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 541-548.

Grisso, T., Fusco, S., Paiva-Salisbury, M., Perrauot, R., Williams, V., & Barnum, R. (2012). The Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2): Comprehensive Research Review. Worcester, MA: University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Kerig, P. K., Moeddel, M. A., & Becker, S. P. (2011). Assessing the sensitivity and specificity of
the MAYSI-2 for detecting trauma among youth in juvenile detention. Child Youth Care Forum, 40, 345-362.

Developer of Review: 
Diana C. Bennett, Crosby A. Modrowski, Patricia K. Kerig
Editor of Review: 
Diana C. Bennett, Crosby A. Modrowski, Patricia K. Kerig
Last Updated: 
Wednesday, December 11, 2013