Validity and reliability of the strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in 5-6 year olds: Differences by gender or by parental education?
PLoS ONE , Volume 7 - Issue 5
Introduction: The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a relatively short instrument developed to detect psychosocial problems in children aged 3-16 years. It addresses four dimensions: emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention problems, peer problems that count up to the total difficulties score, and a fifth dimension; prosocial behaviour. The validity and reliability of the SDQ has not been fully investigated in younger age groups. Therefore, this study assesses the validity and reliability of the parent and teacher versions of the SDQ in children aged 5-6 years in the total sample, and in subgroups according to child gender and parental education level. Methods: The SDQ was administered as part of the Dutch regularly provided preventive health check for children aged 5-6 years. Parents provided information on 4750 children and teachers on 4516 children. Results: Factor analyses of the parent and teacher SDQ confirmed that the original five scales were present (parent RMSEA = 0.05; teacher RMSEA = 0.07). Interrater correlations between parents and teachers were small (ICCs of 0.21-0.44) but comparable to what is generally found for psychosocial problem assessments in children. These correlations were larger for males than for females. Cronbach's alphas for the total difficulties score were 0.77 for the parent SDQ and 0.81 for the teacher SDQ. Four of the subscales on the parent SDQ and two of the subscales on the teacher SDQ had an alpha <0.70. Alphas were generally higher for male children and for low parental education level. Discussion: The validity and reliability of the total difficulties score of the parent and teacher SDQ are satisfactory in all groups by informant, child gender, and parental education level. Our results support the use of the SDQ in younger age groups. However, some subscales are less reliable and we recommend only to use the total difficulties score for screening purposes.
Mieloo, C.L, Raat, H, van Oort, F.V.A, Bevaart, F, Vogel, I, Donker, M.C.H, & Jansen, W. (2012). Validity and reliability of the strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in 5-6 year olds: Differences by gender or by parental education?. PLoS ONE, 7(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036805