The Challenging Behaviour Scale (CBS): development of a scale for staff caring for older people in residential and nursing homes

Br J Clin Psychol. 2001 Sep;40(3):309-22. doi: 10.1348/014466501163715.


Objectives: A review of behavioural rating scales identified the need for a measure of resident behaviours that staff in care homes for older people find difficult to manage. A 25-item, broad-based rating scale, the Challenging Behaviour Scale (CBS), was developed to meet this need and its psychometric properties were examined.

Design: Cross-sectional surveys.

Methods: Ratings of 484 residents, living in 16 homes across England, were used to examine four methods of collecting inter-rater reliability data. Ratings of 382 residents living in 13 homes were used to evaluate criterion validity and to establish norms. Six further homes were used to explore qualitatively the validity of the suggested norms. Ratings of 98 residents living in four further homes were used to examine concurrent validity. The predictive validity of the CBS 'challenge' score was evaluated, using time-sampled direct observation of challenging behaviour in 237 residents, living in 11 homes.

Results: The scale records staff reports of the incidence, frequency and 'management difficulty' of resident behaviour and it can also identify 'challenging residents' through a computed score. It has good internal consistency, good test-retest reliability and adequate validity. Inter-rater reliability is good when staff receive training or when staff groups of at least three, of mixed qualifications, complete the scale. Norms are suggested for prospective studies of the prevalence of challenging behaviour.

Conclusions: The CBS is quick to complete and may have potential for the evaluation of psychosocial interventions in care settings. It is, as far as we know, the first staff observational rating scale that is based on the reports of care staff, who constitute the backbone of residential care provision. Suggestions for improvements in criterion and content validity are outlined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Caregivers*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Reproducibility of Results