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Psychopathology. 2011;44(1):53-9. doi: 10.1159/000318164. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Psychometric validity of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire-dysregulation profile.

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Ruhr University Bochum, LWL University Hospital Hamm for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Hamm, Germany.



In many severely mentally disordered children, the clinical presentation is complicated by comorbid affective and behavioral dysregulation. Recently, a highly heritable behavioral phenotype of simultaneous deviance on the anxious/depressed, attention problems, and aggressive behavior syndrome scales has been identified on the Child Behavior Checklist Dysregulation Profile (CBCL-DP). The aim of the present pilot study was to determine an equivalent to the CBCL-DP using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).


We applied stepwise linear discriminant analyses and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis to data from 543 consecutively referred children and adolescents, aged 5-17 years. The CBCL and the SDQ were completed by parents as part of the diagnostic routine. ICD-10 discharge diagnoses were established in consensus conferences.


A combination of five SDQ items (SDQ-Dysregulation Profile, SDQ-DP) yielded the best discrimination of children with and without CBCL-DP and classified 81.0% of the subjects correctly leading to an area under the curve of 0.93. The content of the five SDQ-DP items mirrors well the mixed behavioral phenotype of anxious-depressive, aggressive and attention problems captured by the CBCL-DP. SDQ-DP status was highly correlated with CBCL-DP status and was best defined by a SDQ-DP score ≥5.


The psychometric properties of the SDQ-DP have been robustly tested and validated. Based on these results, clinicians may use the SDQ-DP as a useful and economical screening measure to improve the assessment, prevention, and treatment of severe dysregulation in childhood and adolescence. Future investigations should study the longitudinal stability, heritability, and genetic associations of this behavioral phenotype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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