Level of agreement, predictive ability, and ratings of positive behavior of multiple informants on the BASC-2
Dorn, Uma Parameswaran
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Five to nine percent of children and adolescents have a serious emotional disorder and of those only 21 percent receive services. Early and accurate diagnosis can increase positive outcomes for these children (U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1999). Behavior checklists are standard assessment tools used in the evaluation of children and adolescents for the diagnosis of various disorders. This study focuses specifically on the Behavior Assessment for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2) in addressing factors that would assist in the interpretation of the ratings of multiple informants. In particular, the following factors were considered: the level of agreement between informants, the ability of informants’ ratings in the prediction of the final diagnosis, the difference in parents’ and teachers’ ratings on positive versus problem behavior and the differences in informants’ ratings based on the child’s gender. Data was gathered from 100 evaluations that used the BASC-2 from a university based outpatient clinic that conducted assessments on children and adolescents ages 6 to 17. Ratings for Internalizing, Externalizing, Attention Problems, Adaptive Skills and Behavior Symptom Index were explored across multiple informants (mothers, fathers, and two teachers). Given the sample size and the percentage of missing data, data was analyzed using multiple imputation techniques. Findings suggest that level of agreement between mothers and fathers are higher than the level of agreement between two teachers across all the scales except Externalizing. On the Externalizing scale, teachers’ ratings had higher levels of agreement. Furthermore, results suggest that the level of agreement between informants is lower across settings (home vs. school). Differences in agreement were found for Adaptive Skills and Internalizing with parents ratings these scales higher than teachers. Results for informants’ predictive ability indicated that mothers’ ratings are the best predictors attention-related diagnosis and fathers’ ratings for internalizing related diagnosis. No differences were found between parent and teacher ratings of positive and problem behavior. In examining gender differences, parents and teachers rated boys higher than girls for externalizing behavior, attention problems, and total problems; whereas, parents and teachers rated girls higher than boys for positive behavior. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.