The Child Behavior Checklist was first developed by Thomas M. Achenbach and is used to help parents, schools and medical professionals evaluate behavioral and emotional problems in children. The questionnaire covers subjects such as the child’s interests and hobbies, along with his emotional stability and social activity. Results from the checklist aid workers to diagnose anxiety and depression, aggressive behavior and attention problems.
The target audience of the Child Behavior Checklist is parents or caregivers of children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. Before 2001, the checklist included children as young as 4. A separate test is available for children ages 1 1/2 to 5 years old. Other forms that may accompany the Child Behavior Checklist can be filled out by teachers, the child himself and medical professionals observing the child. The checklist is available in English and Spanish.
The parent survey is a tool to help medical staff and other service providers screen children for problem behaviors and emotional difficulties. Repeat testing enables these providers to evaluate changes in the child’s behavior over time. Specifically, 118 items describe behavioral and emotional issues, and parents note next to each item whether the statement is, “Not True, Somewhat or Sometimes True, or Very True or Often True” for their child. An additional section is available for parents to write down any further comments or observations that they may have concerning their child.
Special training is not required to score the Child Behavior Checklist. Scoring can be performed by hand or by using an Assessment Data Manager software program. To properly interpret a child’s score, however, a professional should hold a graduate degree, have an understanding of the theory and methodology of standardized assessment and be trained in working with children.
According to the Center for Psychological Studies at Nova Southeastern University, studies support that the Child Behavior Checklist is a valid tool for the evaluation of behavioral and emotional issues of children. The checklist is useful both in medical and research studies.