Objective: To translate the child behaviour checklist (CBCL) into Sinhala and validate it for assessment of mental health status of children aged 5-10 years.
Design and setting: Translation/back-translation method was used to translate the English CBCL into Sinhala. Each item in the Sinhala CBCL (CBCL-S) was rated by mental health professionals to determine semantics, content, and conceptual validity types. To ascertain criterion validity, total scores obtained for CBCL-S by administering it to parents or parent surrogates of 49 girls and 80 boys aged 5-10 years attending the specialist psychiatry clinics and 69 boys and 69 girls in the same age group from the community were compared with clinical diagnoses by a child psychiatrist. Receiver operator characteristic curves were drawn to obtain the cut-off points in CBCL-S for boys and girls separately.
Results: Semantics, content, and conceptual and criterion validity of CBCL-S were satisfactory. At the cut-off level of 39, CBCL-S had a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 88% for boys and a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 92% for girls. Internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and inter-interviewer reliability of CBCL-S were satisfactory.
Interpretation: CBCL-S is a valid and reliable instrument to measure mental health status of Sinhalese children aged 5-10 years in Sri Lanka.