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The Benefits of Psychological Tests

Testing Can Aid in an Accurate Diagnosis for Your Child

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Updated September 20, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Psychological testing can be quite nerve-wracking for children and parents alike. Understanding the benefits of psychological tests for your child may help to make it a more comfortable experience for the whole family.

Psychological Tests for Depression

Children are often unable to articulate or fully understand their emotions or motivations, which can make receiving an accurate diagnosis challenging. Standardized assessments, structured interviews, and observations allow a professional to detect common depression symptoms in your child using age-appropriate techniques that she can identify with, like toys and games.

Accuracy of Psychological Tests

Behaviors and emotions can be subjective, or interpreted differently, among different assessors. Given this, standardized assessments are designed to limit the subjectivity in assessing behaviors and emotions, thereby leading to a more accurate diagnosis.

Depression is not always clear-cut. There are various subtypes of depression and varying degrees of symptoms, all of which inform the appropriate treatment options. Psychological tests are designed to pick up on subtle differences in symptoms and discriminate between subtypes of depression.

While psychological testing can seem like a scary prospect, it has real benefits, especially for children. After all, when it comes to your child's well-being, you want to be sure that she is receiving an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Sources:

Gary Groth-Marnat. The Handbook of Psychological Assessments, Fourth Edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2003.

Robert J. Gregory. Psychological Testing: History, Principles, and Applications, 4th Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Group, Inc.; 2004.

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