Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: research and clinical applications

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2006 Jul;19(4):367-72. doi: 10.1097/01.yco.0000228755.72366.05.


Purpose of review: To critically discuss recent findings from studies using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, in relation to different research designs and clinical purposes.

Recent findings: A substantive body of research exists on the psychometric properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in different cultures. This body supports the validity and reliability of its versions for the parent, teacher and self-reporting purpose, despite some variation in cut-off scores. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire is increasingly being used as a measure of child psychopathology in other types of research, that is, aetiological, longitudinal and service evaluation studies. Future studies need to address in more detail the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire diagnostic algorithms, added value score, impact and burden items and a preschool version.

Summary: The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire has been established as the most widely used instrument in child mental health research. It is easy to complete, is user friendly because of its positive attributes items, allows comparisons to be made between different populations and is sensitive to change.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Health*
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Treatment Outcome