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Against the use of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–15 years

journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-03, 05:35 authored by Tracey Chau, Jeggan Tiego, Louise Brown, David Coghill, Laura Jobson, Alicia Montgomery, Cammi Murrup-Stewart, Emma SciberrasEmma Sciberras, Tim J Silk, Megan Spencer-Smith, Nicole Stefanac, Daniel P Sullivan, Mark A Bellgrove
Objective: The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire is a widely used screening tool for emotional and behavioural problems in children. Recent quantitative analyses have raised concerns regarding its structural validity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This paper aims to extend upon existing findings by analysing the factor structure of both the parent- and teacher-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in this population across a broader age range than in previous studies. Methods: Participants were the caregivers and teachers of 1624 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (820 male, 804 female) aged 2–15 years from Waves 2–11 of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. The majority of children were Aboriginal living in major cities and inner regional areas. Internal consistency was estimated with McDonald’s Omega. Exploratory structural equation modelling was conducted to investigate the factor structure of the parent-reported and teacher-reported versions of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Results: Responses from teachers demonstrated higher internal consistency than responses from parents, which was unacceptably low across most age groups. The purported five-factor structure of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire failed to be replicated across both parent- and teacher-reported questionnaires. The results of bifactor and hierarchical exploratory structural equation models also failed to approximate the higher-order summary scales. These results indicate that the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire subscales and summary scores do not provide a valid index of emotional and behavioural problems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Conclusion: The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire should not be used with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

History

Journal

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

Pagination

1-16

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

0004-8674

eISSN

1440-1614

Language

en

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

SAGE Publications

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