Examining the Spanish MAYSI-2 translation among Mexican Americans

Yolanda Denise Ochoa, University of Texas at El Paso


Due to the increasing Latino population in the U.S., Spanish translations of mental health screening tools are needed to better serve Latinos, particularly those in juvenile justice settings. Screening tools are measures that flag mental health symptoms and indicate if further evaluation is needed. The most widely screening tool used in juvenile justice settings that has been translated into Spanish is the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2). To date, research has focused only on the English version of the MAYSI-2. The present study examined the equivalence of the Spanish translation of the MAYSI-2 to its English version in 18- to 21-year-old bilingual university students. To further illuminate potential measurement differences, the present study also examined whether variables such as language version and acculturation influence the number of depression and somatic symptoms reported by Latinos. Lastly, it examined if language self-reports are accurate measures at evaluating language dominance to quickly determine what language a screening tool should be administered in a bilingual juvenile offender. The results indicated that among 18- to 21-year-old bilingual university students (N = 261), the English and Spanish versions of the MAYSI-2 showed some evidence of equivalence to each other. No differences were found between the number of depression symptoms reported in English or Spanish, but more emotion was found to be elicited in English than in Spanish. In the present sample, no consensus was found in the relationship between somatic symptoms and acculturation as the relationship between the two varied across genders as well as across measures. Results indicated that a language self-report appears to be an accurate measure to evaluate language dominance. The present study will help juvenile justice settings in knowing how to better screen bilingual juvenile offenders for mental health symptoms.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Ochoa, Yolanda Denise, "Examining the Spanish MAYSI-2 translation among Mexican Americans" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10118219.