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Authors: Achenbach, T. M. and Rescorla, L. A.

, 21
st
Century Edition
Publisher: ASEBA Research Center for Children, Youth, and Families, Burlington: VT
Cost: $330: Preschool-age Starter Kit w/Multicultural Options (ADM Module, 50 CBCL/1-5-LDS and C-TRF,
Manual, and Multicultural Supplement)
$430: School-age Starter Kit w/Multicultural Options (ADM Module, 50 CBCL/6-18, TRF, and YSR,
Manual, and Multicultural Supplement)
Website: www.aseba.org
Prepared by: Gabe Mandel, EDPS 660


A comprehensive, multi-rater approach to assessing adaptive and
maladaptive functioning of children and adolescents
Development & Theory
The ASEBA approach originated in the 1960s
with Dr. Achenbachs efforts to develop a more
differentiated picture of child and adolescent
psychopathology than was provided by the
prevailing diagnostic system (www.ASEBA.org)
The original Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM) offered only 2
categories for childhood
disorders, Adjustment Reaction
of Childhood & Schizophrenic Reaction,
Childhood Type. Dr. Achenbach sought to
identify other emotional, behavioral, and
social patterns by developing measures of the
internalizing-externalizing behavior
constructs.
Problems reported by large samples
of children and adolescents were
recorded.
Syndromes/patterns of problems
were identified using multivariate
statistical analyses.
Features
Integrated multi-informant
assessment
Multicultural scoring norms from 24
societies & translated in over 90
languages
Relates directly to DSM-IV
diagnostic categories
Several computer software
applications
widely used in mental health
services, schools, medical settings,
child and family services, HMOs,
public health agencies, child
guidance, and training programs
Preschool version (ages 1 to 5)
School-age version (ages 6 to 18)
CBCL/1-5
Administration:
- Completed by parents & others who see the child
in home-like setting.
- 5
th
grade reading level.
- 100 items, 10 mins.
Scales:
- Internalizing, Externalizing, Total Problems.
- 7 Syndrome scales .
- Language Development Survey (LDS; ages 18-35
months).
- 5 DSM-Oriented Scales.
See below for more details
C-TRF
Administration:
- Completed by day-care providers and preschool
teachers who see the child in a group of at least
four children.
- 100 items, 10 mins.
Scales:
- Internalizing, Externalizing, Total Problems
- 6 Syndrome scales
See below for more details

2 forms:
Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/1-5) &
Caregiver-Teacher Report Form (C-TRF)
3 forms:
Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/6-18), Teacher
Report Form (TRF), & Youth Self-Report (YSR)
CBCL/6-18
Administration:
- Completed by parents & others who see the child in
home-like setting.
- 5
th
grade reading level.
- 112 items, 15-20 mins.
Scales:
- Internalizing, Externalizing, Total Problems.
- 4 Competence scales: Activities, Social, School, &
Total Competence.
- 8 Syndrome scales.
- 6 DSM-Oriented scales.
See below for more details
TRF
Administration:
- Completed by teachers of children 6 to 18yo.
- 112 items; 15-20 mins.
Scales:
- CBCL/6-18 Syndrome & DSM-Oriented Scales
See below for more details
- 6 Adaptive Functioning scales: Academic
Performance, Working Hard, Behaving
Appropriately, Learning, Happy, Total.
- Separate scores for Inattention & Hyperactivity-
Impulsivity
YSR
Administration:
- Completed by adolescents ages 11 to 18.
- 112 items, 15-20 mins.
Scales:
- CBCL/6-18 Syndrome & DSM-Oriented Scales
See below for more details
- 3 Competence scales: Activities, Social, Total
Competence.

Scales
Forms
CBCL/1-
5
C-TRF CBCL/6-18 TRF YSR
Syndrome Scales
Internalizing Scales
Emotionally Reactive X X ___ ___ ___
Anxious/Depressed X X X X X
Withdrawn/Depressed ___ ___ X X X
Somatic Complaints X X X X X
Social Problems ___ ___ X X X
Thought Problems ___ ___ X X X
Attention Problems ___ ___ X X X
Withdrawn X X ___ ___ ___
Sleep Problems
Externalizing Scales
X ___ ___ ___ ___
Attention Problems X X ___ ___ ___
Rule-Breaking Behavior ___ ___ X X X
Aggressive Behavior X X X X X
DSM-Oriented Scales
Affective Problems

X

X

X

X

X
Anxiety Problems X X X X X
Pervasive Developmental Problems X X ___ ___ ___
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems X X X X X
Oppositional Defiant Problems X X X X X
Somatic Problems ___ ___ X X X
Conduct Problems ___ ___ X X X

Scoring (all forms):
- 3-Point scale: 0 (not true), 1 (somewhat true or sometimes time), 2 (very true
or often true).
- Raw scores, T-scores (M = 50, SD = 10) & percentile ranks for all scales.
- Separate norms for girls and boys; ages 1-5, 6-11, 12-18.


Interpretation:
*B* = Borderline
*C* = Clinical
CBCL/1-5 LDS -
*Language delay*
If below 15
th
percentile
based on age & word
count.
If below 20
th
percentile
based on length of
phrases.
Activities, Social &
School scales
T-score 31-35 = *B*
T-score < 31 = *C*
Total Competence
T-score 37-40 = *B*
T-score < 37 = *C*
Syndrome & DSM-
Oriented scales
T-score 65-69 = *B*
T-score > 69 = *C*
Total Problems,
Internalizing, &
Externalizing scales
T-scores 60-63 = *B*
T-scores > 63 = *C*


Psychometrics
Reliability (across forms CBCL/1-5, C-TRF, CBCL/6-18, TRF, YSR)
Internal Consistency
Problem scales range from .89 to .97
Syndrome scales range from .48 to .95
DSM-Oriented scales range from .67 to .93
Test-retest
Problem scales range from .77 to .95
Syndrome scales range from .60 to .96
DSM-Oriented scales range from .57 to .95

Inter-rater
Problem scales range from .30 to .85
Syndrome scales range from .28 to .85
DSM-Oriented scales range from ..20 to 88

Validity
Content, construct, & criterion-related validity are satisfactory. Content is related to standard
diagnostic systems, factor analyses support component groups of scales, satisfactorily correlated with
other/parallel measures of behavior. (Sattler & Hoge, 2006)
Strengths
Several scales have relatively low reliabilities, particularly inter-rater scores
Critique
Easily administered questionnaire
Standardized observation form &
structured interview available
Related to several childhood &
adolescent DSM-IV diagnoses

Software programs download
forms and generate scores,
profiles, comparison graphs,
critical items, & narrative reports
Multicultural applications

C-TRF & TRF norms include many cases from 1997 and 1989 samples, respectively, as to
increase the size of normative samples. Although the manual states that scores were similar,
it would be preferable if all norm groups were based solely on the 1999 U.S. Census.

Limitations
Standardization
CBCL/1-5: parents rated 700 children.
C-TRF: caregivers rated 1,192 children.
CBCL/6-18: parents rated 1,753 children; norms presented separately by gender & age (6-11, 12-18)
TRF: teachers rated 2,319 children; norms presented separately by gender & age (6-11, 12-18).
YSR: 1,057 adolescents aged 11 to 18; norms presented separately by gender.
* All are considered representative of 1999 U.S. Census WRT SES, ethnicity, & geographic region *