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Keywords:

  • attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity;
  • child behaviour disorders;
  • child behaviour;
  • clinical psychology;
  • psychometrics.

Objective:  We examine the Australian psychometric properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SQD), a brief screening measure of behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents.

Method:  Using a large community sample (n = 1359) of young Australian children (4−9 years), we assessed the internal consistency, stability, and external validity of the parent-report SDQ. Normative data and cut-offs were also produced.

Results:  Moderate to strong internal reliability was exhibited across all SDQ subscales, and support was found for the original five-factor structure of the measure. Adequate validity was evidenced in the relationship of these scales to one another, while correlations between the SDQ subscales, teacher ratings, and diagnostic interviews demonstrated sound external validity. SDQ total difficulties scores were associated with concurrent treatment status and scores over a 12-month period were stable.

Conclusions:  The current study of the SDQ with Australian children presents evidence of sound psychometric properties. Being the first study to empirically support the use of the SDQ in Australia, it is recommended that the youth and teacher-report forms of the measure receive similar attention in the future.