SACA for Young Adults

Services Assessment for Children and Adolescents (SACA-C). This computerized interview is a revised version of the Service Assessment for Children and Adolescents (SACA; Stiffman et al., 2000). This measure was developed by the team of researchers in the UNOCCAP Project for NIMH. It assesses the frequency, duration, type, and cost of mental health and social services associated with the young adult's behavior, substance abuse, and delinquency. It has been adapted to also include school-based and court services.


Beginning in year 14, a new measure of self-reported service use was used that closely resembles the SACA-Not So Brief and SACA-Not So Brief Revised measure that were administered to parents. One key difference is that youth are asked about services received at different health care facilities in the past 2 years rather than the last 12 months. If a young adult indicates that a particular type of service was used, detailed follow-up questions about use in the past 2 years are asked (e.g., number of facilities, name and location of facilities, number of admissions/visits, number of nights admitted, who referred the youth to the service, and the source and amount of payment for the most recent admission/visit). If the provider is a general health provider, an additional question is asked to determine the proportion of admissions/visits that were for mental health reasons.

In addition to service use, the measure also collects data on health care coverage, police/court contact, prescription drug use for mental health reasons, and special education services if youth attended secondary school in the past 2 years.

The health insurance coverage section asks whether the young adult currently has health insurance. If yes, the young adult is asked how long he/she has had coverage and the source of coverage. If no, the measure inquires about the length of time since he/she had coverage. All respondents are asked if they have ever been without insurance in past 2 years.

The prescription drug section asks whether youth received a written prescription for medication for mental health reasons in the past 2 years. If yes, the youth is asked more detailed questions about prescriptions for different mental health conditions (e.g., when medication was first prescribed, whether the youth filled the prescription, and when the youth stopped taking the medication). The measure asks about prescriptions for the following problems; anxiety, depression, anger, ADHD, and medications for other emotional, behavioral or substance abuse problems.

If youth attended secondary school in the past 2 years, he/she is asked a series of questions about special education services received.

Four dichotomous scales were derived for this measure. Associated with each scale name are the items captured by the general scale score. If a young adult reported service use for any item in the list, the scale was coded one. If any item is missing and none of the non-missing items indicate service use, the scale was coded missing.

The SACA for Young Adults provides extensive information on mental health service use. Analysts can examine group differences in degree and pattern of mental health service use as well as examine the relationship between characteristics of service use with predictors from other instruments.

Analysts should note that the services included in the scales vary from the services included in the adult version of this measure (SACA-Not So Brief and SACA-Not So Brief Revised). In addition, the service use questions ask about past 2 years rather than past 12 months. Analysts should examine how many participants positively endorsed receiving services before generating descriptive statistics or using outcomes in statistical models. In general, most items will have a high frequency of participants who report not receiving any services (i.e., zeros), so examination of individual response distributions is highly advised.

Dataset Names

Raw Dataset Name: CxBQ
Scored Dataset Name: MHYySCc


Mental Health Services, Inpatient, Outpatient, Special Education, In-School Services, Hospitalization, Foster Care, Incarceration, Jail, Illegal Activities, Arrest