Examining the model structure of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ)
Azzopardi, Lara Marie
- Publisher: Malta Chamber of Scientists
Behavioral assessment in children | Problem children -- Behavior modification | Structural equation modeling
The Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire (SDQ), proposed by Goodman 1997, has been used by researchers to measure social, emotional and behaviour difficulties in children. The SDQ includes four difficulty subscales, measuring emotional, conduct, hyperactivity and peer problems. It also includes a fifth subscale, measuring prosocial behaviour. Dickey 2004 suggested that the SDQ factor structure can be reduced to three dimensions comprising the prosocial, externalisation and internalisation subscales. Externalising problems combine conduct and hyperactivity, while internalising problems combine peer and emotional difficulties. A sample of 5200 local students aged between 4 and 16 years was used to investigate the factor structure underlying the teachers' version of the SDQ. Statistical analysis was conducted using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The study finds that the three-factor solution fits the data well. EFA establishes good internal consistency of these three factors. Moreover, several fit indices confirm this three-factor model through CFA. The externalisation construct linking hyperactivity and conduct problems is more robust than the internalisation construct linking emotional to peer problems. Through SEM, it was deduced that the Externalisation Factor dominates both the Internalisation and the Prosocial Factors. This implies that by controlling externalized behaviour leads to a better control of internalized and prosocial behaviours of students.