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Keywords:

  • Rutter scales;
  • child behaviour problems;
  • conduct disorder;
  • emotional disorder;
  • hyperactivity;
  • screening questionnaires;
  • epidemiology

The Rutter scales are a pair of short questionnaires for collecting information from parents and teachers about the behaviour of children aged about nine to thirteen years. They focus on emotional and conduct disorders and were designed as screening instruments for epidemiological research. Over the last 25 years they have been used in over 80 studies of various kinds around the world, their psychometric properties have been reported in great detail, and the original scales have been adapted for use with younger children and extended to include items about prosocial behaviours. In this article we summarize the evidence that has accumulated about the scales, provide some guidelines for researchers considering using the scales, and consider some applications for them in the future.