Teacher ratings of children's behavior problems and functional impairment across gender and ethnicity: Construct equivalence of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire
The present study examined construct equivalence of the teacher Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and compared mean scores in an ethnically diverse sample of children living in the Netherlands. Elementary schoolteachers completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for 2,185 children aged 6 to 10 years of the four largest ethnic groups in the Netherlands, namely native Dutch (n = 684) and Moroccan (n = 702), Turkish (n = 434), and Surinamese (n = 365) immigrant children. Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis suggested the factor structure of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire to be invariant across children's ethnicity and gender. Additionally, the factor structure appeared to be similar for Dutch and Surinamese teachers. However, mean scores on emotional problems, hyperactivity, conduct problems, prosocial behavior, and impairment varied significantly according to ethnicity and gender. Mean scores on peer problems differed significantly for boys and girls, but not across ethnicity. Whether mean differences reflect a method bias or actual differences in classroom behaviors is discussed and needs further research.