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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008 Jun;47(6):632-41. doi: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e31816c5c10.

Observational Assessment of Preschool Disruptive Behavior, Part II: validity of the Disruptive Behavior Diagnostic Observation Schedule (DB-DOS).

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  • 1Institute for Juvenile Research, Department of Psychiatry (MC 747), University of Illinois at Chicago, 1747 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608, USA.



To examine the validity of the Disruptive Behavior Diagnostic Observation Schedule (DB-DOS), a new observational method for assessing preschool disruptive behavior.


A total of 327 behaviorally heterogeneous preschoolers from low-income environments comprised the validation sample. Parent and teacher reports were used to identify children with clinically significant disruptive behavior. The DB-DOS assessed observed disruptive behavior in two domains, problems in Behavioral Regulation and Anger Modulation, across three interactional contexts: Examiner Engaged, Examiner Busy, and Parent. Convergent and divergent validity of the DB-DOS were tested in relation to parent and teacher reports and independently observed behavior. Clinical validity was tested in terms of criterion and incremental validity of the DB-DOS for discriminating disruptive behavior status and impairment, concurrently and longitudinally.


DB-DOS scores were significantly associated with reported and independently observed behavior in a theoretically meaningful fashion. Scores from both DB-DOS domains and each of the three DB-DOS contexts contributed uniquely to discrimination of disruptive behavior status, concurrently and predictively. Observed behavior on the DB-DOS also contributed incrementally to prediction of impairment over time, beyond variance explained by meeting DSM-IV disruptive behavior disorder symptom criteria based on parent/teacher report.


The multidomain, multicontext approach of the DB-DOS is a valid method for direct assessment of preschool disruptive behavior. This approach shows promise for enhancing accurate identification of clinically significant disruptive behavior in young children and for characterizing subtypes in a manner that can directly inform etiological and intervention research.

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