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Using Item Response Theory to Evaluate and Revise the Child Behavior Questionnaire
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Early emerging individual differences in reactivity and self-regulation, or temperament, are crucial for understanding development in childhood and beyond. The Child Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ) is currently the most popular measure for assessing temperament in childhood. However, its current length (195 items) may overburden informants. Short forms of the CBQ exist, but these versions may suffer from a lack of measurement precision and content coverage given the procedures used for their development. Modern psychometric techniques based on Item Response Theory (IRT) are well suited to the task of reducing assessment length without compromising measurement quality. Accordingly, the current study used IRT and related techniques to revise the CBQ with the goal of making it more efficient. Result indicated that CBQ could be reduced in length by 44% while still functioning similarly to the original form in terms of measurement precision, inter-parent agreement, and the ability to predict adjustment outcomes. This revised 110-item CBQ, which is substantially shorter and maintains the favorable measurement properties of the original, should prove useful for researchers and clinicians who desire a comprehensive assessment of temperament.
Clark III, David Angus (2018). Using Item Response Theory to Evaluate and Revise the Child Behavior Questionnaire. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from