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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1999 Jun;8(2):71-7.

Evaluation of emotional and behavioral problems in language impaired children using the Child Behavior Checklist.

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Heckscher Klinik für Kinderund Jugendpsychiatrie, München, Germany.


Speech and language impaired children are at special risk for developing psychiatric disorders. Attention deficit, aggressive behaviour as well as overanxiety and excessive shyness have been reported in speech and language impaired children. The purpose of this study was to determine how the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) could be used as a screening instrument in language impaired children. In a sample of 83 language impaired children, emotional and behavioural problems were evaluated using the CBCL. Independent of this assessment, DSM-IV diagnoses were established for all children. Sixty-six of the 83 children had a psychiatric diagnosis. The use of the Total Behavior Problem score (TBP) as a global measure of behavioural disturbance showed that children with a psychiatric diagnosis had significantly higher scores on the TBP score than children without a psychiatric diagnosis. The specificity of the TBP was 88.2%, the sensitivity 75.8%, and the false classification rate 21.6%. The most frequently reported behavioural disturbances were problems on scale VI ("Attention Problems"-39 children) and on scale I ("Withdrawn"-32 children). A small group of children with a receptive language disorder and pronounced compulsive behavioural problems had elevated scores on scale V ("Thought Problems").

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