Objectives: This study examines whether the German translation of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a reliable and valid screening instrument and whether it is as effective a tool for clinical diagnostics and scientific applications as the CBCL/TRF.
Methods: We examined 543 children and adolescents (147 girls and 396 boys) with ages ranging from 5 to 17 years and correlated the results of the parent and teacher SDQ as well as the CBCL/TRF with clinical diagnoses. Furthermore, the adequacy of the scale structure of the SDQ was tested using confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses.
Results: It was demonstrated that the scales of the parent and teacher versions were sufficiently homogeneous (0.72-0.83). Correlations between SDQ scales and corresponding CBCL/TRF scales showed a high degree of congruence, while an exact replication of the original SDQ scale structure could also be achieved. Parent and teacher versions of both questionnaires presented with good validity, not only with regard to the discrimination between child psychiatric patients and a representative community sample, but also in the identification of different categories of disorders within the clinical sample.
Conclusion: The parent and teacher SDQs proved to be valid and helpful questionnaires for use in the framework of a multi-dimensional behavioural assessment, and appear to be well suited for screening purposes, longitudinal monitoring of therapeutic effects, and scientific research purposes.