The Psychosocial Assessment Tool

Construct: Psychosocial risk

Description of Measure:

  • Developed in 2001 (v.1); 2008 (v.2)
  • Designed for use with families of children newly diagnosed with cancer. Parents or caregivers complete the measure.
  • 15 response sets (but some have many (12) sub-questions)
  • Time-frame to complete is 10 minutes
  • Purpose: to assess psychosocial risk in families of children newly diagnosed with cancer
  • Response format(s): Yes/No, Likert ratings, fill-in-the-blank questions, checkboxes
  • Item example: “Who can you count on to provide the following: childcare/parenting, emotional support, financial support, information, help with everyday tasks?”
  • Subscales: Family Structure and Resources, Family Social Support, Family Problems, Parent Stress Reactions, Family Beliefs, Child Problems, Sibling Problems
  • Languages: Spanish and other languages
  • Reliability and validity: alpha =.81; test re-test reliability over 2-week period rs=.78-.87. Scores correlated with acute stress and child behavior symptoms as reported by both mothers and fathers.
  • Content validity: significant correlations of Child Problems with BASC-2 Behavioral Symptoms Index; Total scores correlate highly with measures of distress and poorer family functioning.
  • Important normative samples: Psychometric properties were originally established on a sample of 132 female and 72 male caregivers of 141 children newly-diagnosed with cancer.
  • Other versions: Staff PAT for parallel assessment of psychosocial risk by patient, oncologist and/or nurse — 17 items.

Sick childTo obtain the instrument: Stephen DiDonato, MS, Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress, Nemours/AI DuPont Hospital for Children,


Pai, A.L., Patino-Fernandez, A.M., McSherry, M., Beele, D., Alderfer, M.A., Reilly, A.T., Hwang, W-T., & Kazak, A.E. (2008). The psychosocial assessment tool (PAT2.0): Psychometric properties of a screener for psychosocial distress in families of children newly-diagnosed with cancer. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 33, 50-62.

Alderfer, M.A., Mougianis, I., Barakat, L.P., Beele, D., DiTaranto, S., Hwang, W-T., Rielly, A.T. & Kazak, A.E. (2009). Family psychosocial risk, distress, and service utilization in pediatric cancer: predictive validity of the Psychosocial Assessment Tool (PAT). Cancer, 115(8), S4339-49.