The validity of teacher ratings of child behavior in Anguilla, BWI versus the U.S.
Rivers, Lanee Susann
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Previous research has shown that there are common behaviors that are found with consistency across various geographic regions. Specifically, the widely identified syndromes of “internalizing” and “externalizing” have been produced with such frequency across different regions as to suggest the invariance of these behavioral constructs in cross-cultural research. These studies have provided valuable information; however, few focus on children of African descent, specifically, children residing in the Caribbean. Research focused on childhood behavior in the Caribbean allows for researchers to study children of African descent living in a society that differs from the United States in important ways (Lambert, et al., 1989). As such, several theorists suggest that the effects of culture are so forceful as to lead to the prediction that these behavioral constructs cannot be measured in the same way across cultures. This study sought to investigate an important aspect of construct validity of a popular teacher rating scale of child behavior for children from the island nation of Anguilla, BWI. This study represents a rare opportunity to assess the invariance of the constructs of externalizing, internalizing, adaptive skills, and academic behavior problems by comparing a small island population to the factor structure obtained for a national U.S. sample. This study also sought to determine the effects of culture on the mean differences in behavior ratings between Anguilla and the United States, as well as, gender differences. Permission to conduct the research was given by the Department of Education of Anguilla, BWI. Data for this study were obtained from teachers in the primary schools in Anguilla, BWI. The Behavior Assessment System for Children-Teacher Rating Scale (BASC TRS-C) was completed for 320 children ranging in age from 6 to 11 years old. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the Anguilla factor constructs were very similar in composition to the four BASC TRS-C constructs derived by Reynolds and Kamphaus (1992), in the U.S. except for the Adaptive Skills composite. Results of analysis of variance of mean scores on the four composites yielded differences that were statistically significant, although these differences were small. The largest mean differences found were only three T-score points.