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Psychometric Properties of the Danish Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire: The SDQ Assessed for More than 70,000 Raters in Four Different Cohorts

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      BackgroundThe Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioural five factor instrument developed to assess emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the psychometric properties for parent and teacher ratings in the Danish version of SDQ for different age groups of boys and girls.MethodsThe Danish versions of the SDQ were distributed to a total of 71,840 parent and teacher raters of 5-, 7- and 10- to 12-year-old children included in four large scale Danish cohorts. The internal reliability was assessed and exploratory factor analyses were carried out to replicate the originally proposed five factor structure. Mean scores and percentiles were examined in order to differentiate between low, medium and high levels of emotional and behavioural difficulties.ResultsThe original five factor structure could be substantially confirmed. The Conduct items however did not solely load on the proposed Conduct scale and the Conduct scale was further contaminated by non-conduct items. Positively worded items tended to load on the Prosocial scale. This was more so the case for teachers than for parents. Parent and teacher means and percentiles were found to be lower compared to British figures but similar to or only slightly lower than those found in the other Nordic countries. The percentiles for girls were generally lower than for boys, markedly so for the teacher hyperactivity ratings.ConclusionsThe study supports the usefulness of the SDQ as a screening tool for boys and girls across age groups and raters in the general Danish population.

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      Most cited references 35

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      Psychometric properties of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire.

      To describe the psychometric properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), a brief measure of the prosocial behavior and psychopathology of 3-16-year-olds that can be completed by parents, teachers, or youths. A nationwide epidemiological sample of 10,438 British 5-15-year-olds obtained SDQs from 96% of parents, 70% of teachers, and 91% of 11-15-year-olds. Blind to the SDQ findings, all subjects were also assigned DSM-IVdiagnoses based on a clinical review of detailed interview measures. The predicted five-factor structure (emotional, conduct, hyperactivity-inattention, peer, prosocial) was confirmed. Internalizing and externalizing scales were relatively "uncontaminated" by one another. Reliability was generally satisfactory, whether judged by internal consistency (mean Cronbach a: .73), cross-informant correlation (mean: 0.34), or retest stability after 4 to 6 months (mean: 0.62). SDQ scores above the 90th percentile predicted a substantially raised probability of independently diagnosed psychiatric disorders (mean odds ratio: 15.7 for parent scales, 15.2 for teacher scales, 6.2 for youth scales). The reliability and validity of the SDQ make it a useful brief measure of the adjustment and psychopathology of children and adolescents.
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        The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: a research note.

        A novel behavioural screening questionnaire, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), was administered along with Rutter questionnaires to parents and teachers of 403 children drawn from dental and psychiatric clinics. Scores derived from the SDQ and Rutter questionnaires were highly correlated; parent-teacher correlations for the two sets of measures were comparable or favoured the SDQ. The two sets of measures did not differ in their ability to discriminate between psychiatric and dental clinic attenders. These preliminary findings suggest that the SDQ functions as well as the Rutter questionnaires while offering the following additional advantages: a focus on strengths as well as difficulties; better coverage of inattention, peer relationships, and prosocial behaviour; a shorter format; and a single form suitable for both parents and teachers, perhaps thereby increasing parent-teacher correlations.
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          The British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey 1999: the prevalence of DSM-IV disorders.

          To describe the prevalence of DSM-IV disorders and comorbidity in a large population-based sample of British children and adolescents. Using a one-phase design, 10,438 children were assessed using the Development and Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA), a structured interview with verbatim reports reviewed by clinicians so that information from parents, teachers, and children was combined in a manner that emulated the clinical process. The authors' analysis examined comorbidity and the influence of teacher reports. The overall prevalence of DSM-IV disorders was 9.5% (95% confidence interval 8.8-10.1%), but 2.1% of children were assigned "not otherwise specified" rather than operationalized diagnoses. After adjusting for the presence of a third disorder, there was no longer significant comorbidity between anxiety and conduct disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or between depression and oppositional defiant disorder. A comparison of the disorders in children with and without teacher reports suggested that the prevalence of conduct disorders and ADHD would be underestimated in the absence of teacher information. Roughly 1 in 10 children have at least one DSM-IV disorder, involving a level of distress or social impairment likely to warrant treatment. Comorbidity reported between some childhood diagnoses may be due to the association of both disorders with a third. Diagnoses of conduct disorder and ADHD may be missed if information is not sought from teachers about children's functioning in school.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
            [2 ]Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
            [3 ]Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Centre Glostrup, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
            [4 ]Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
            The University of Queensland, Australia
            Author notes

            Conceived and designed the experiments: JN TWT AMNA AMS HE CO. Performed the experiments: JN TWT AMNA AMS HE CO. Analyzed the data: JN TWT CO. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: JN TWT AMNA AMS HE CO. Wrote the paper: JN TWT AMNA AMS HE CO. Literature search: JN. Study design: JN CO TWT.

            Role: Editor
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            27 February 2012
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            Niclasen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
            Pages: 8
            Research Article
            Mental Health
            Public Health
            Social and Behavioral Sciences



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