A Clinical Study of Competency in Child Psychiatric Inpatients

S. B. Billick, J. L. Edwards, W. B. III, J. R. Serlen and S. M. Bruni,
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 26(4): 587-594, 1998.
A 17-item competency questionnaire, modified for use with children and adolescents (CQ-ChP), was used to evaluate competency to consent to hospitalization and treatment in child psychiatric inpatients. A total of 25 consecutive English-speaking psychiatric child inpatient admissions were studied. Demographic data were statistically analyzed using chi square, and there were no significant statistical differences between the competent and incompetent groups (using CQ-ChP scores and cut-offs). The various demographic/clinical variables and scores on the questionnaire were also statistically evaluated using chi square. The only statistical significance was the association between reading level and competency with a value of p > .05. Therefore, by achieving a reading level at the fifth-grade standard, subjects were found to be competent as measured by the CQ-ChP.