Psychometric properties of the parent and teacher versions of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire for 4- to 12-year-olds: a review

Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2010 Sep;13(3):254-74. doi: 10.1007/s10567-010-0071-2.


Since its development, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) has been widely used in both research and practice. The SDQ screens for positive and negative psychological attributes. This review aims to provide an overview of the psychometric properties of the SDQ for 4- to 12-year-olds. Results from 48 studies (N = 131,223) on reliability and validity of the parent and teacher SDQ are summarized quantitatively and descriptively. Internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and inter-rater agreement are satisfactory for the parent and teacher versions. At subscale level, the reliability of the teacher version seemed stronger compared to that of the parent version. Concerning validity, 15 out of 18 studies confirmed the five-factor structure. Correlations with other measures of psychopathology as well as the screening ability of the SDQ are sufficient. This review shows that the psychometric properties of the SDQ are strong, particularly for the teacher version. For practice, this implies that the use of the SDQ as a screening instrument should be continued. Longitudinal research studies should investigate predictive validity. For both practice and research, we emphasize the use of a multi-informant approach.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Observer Variation
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*