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The Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist Youth (WASC-Y)

wasc-y wascyThe Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist for Youth (WASC-Y) aged 13-17 years is the first culturally and scientifically validated psychological test developed specifically for Aboriginal Australian youth. It identifies Aboriginal youth at risk of depression, suicidal behaviours, drug and alcohol use, impulsivity, anxiety and cultural resilience as a moderator of risk.

Validation Study 1: Little, J (2007). Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist, Youth (aged 13 – 17 years). The WASC-Y manual (2nd edition). The cultural and clinical validation guidelines for the administration of the WASCY, IPS, Perth (WA).

Validation Study 2: Westerman, T.G (2003). The development of an Inventory to Assess the Moderating Effects of Cultural Resilience with Aboriginal Youth at Risk of Depression, Anxiety and Suicidal Behaviours, PhD thesis, Curtin University

The WASC-Y was cited by Canadian Health (2009) as being a ‘substantial contribution’ to Aboriginal youth suicide”.

The development of the WASC-Y and large scale screening of Aboriginal youth has resulted in a number of important firsts including:

  1. The determination of population level risk and protective factors specific to suicidal behaviours, depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use,
  2. The ability to screen Aboriginal youth for EARLY stages of risk and proactively address this risk
  3. The determination of the components and role of cultural resilience as a moderator of risk
  4. The development of unique Aboriginal youth intervention programs based upon these different risk and protective factors,
  5. The delivery of highly successful Whole of Community Suicide and Mental Health Intervention Programs into communities Australia wide based upon these differences

The WASC-Y is only accessible once you have undertaken the Aboriginal Mental Health Assessment or Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Training’s available through the “SHOP” link.

The WASC-Y start up package is a “ONE-OFF” purchase and includes a 224 page WASC-Y manual, 30 WASC-Y symptom checklists, 10 reply paid envelopes and a hold all satchel. The WASC-Y manual is extensive and a great resource for those working in Aboriginal mental health. It provides the following:

  1. The methodology associated with the development of the WASC-Y,
  2. A review of existing psychological tests and their limitations for use with Aboriginal people
  3. A review of the existing Aboriginal mental health to determine prevalence and gaps in existing understanding of Aboriginal mental health
  4. An overview of the literature and evidence base regarding culturally derived models and methods of mental health assessment.
  5. Outcomes of Dr. Westerman’s research including:
    1. evidence supporting the existence of culture-bound syndromes (spiritual visits, sorry cutting; being sung, cursed; longing for country), models of traditional and cultural treatments;
    2. cultural assessment models guiding readers through assessing for cultural illness within a mental health diagnostic framework and
    3. outcomes of large scale screening of Aboriginal youth with the WASC-Y including prevalence across disorders; notable correlations and co-morbidities and normative data for Aboriginal youth to determine level of risk.
  6. The manual also provides WASC-Y administration guidelines including scoring templates relevant to each of the domains of depression, suicidal behaviours, drug and alcohol use, impulsivity, anxiety and cultural resilience.
  7. Finally, the manual provides you with a set of Cultural and Clinical Validation Guidelines for use when interviewing youth who have been screened with the WASC-Y. This ensures that you provide the most culturally valid assessment of Aboriginal youth and includes a cultural engagement model validated with over 104 Aboriginal youths. Download article here Engaging Australian Aboriginal Youth in Mental Health Services 2010.

All of this information is also covered in the IPS Training accredited training for the WASC-Y.

Cost: $1,008 AUD (including GST and postage).

The WASC-Y refill pack can then be purchased following the purchase of the Start Up Pack. This includes 30 copies of the WASC-Y.

Cost: $395 AUD (including GST and postage).