This study investigates the construct validity and reliability of the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) in a psychiatric clinical sample of toddlers. The sample consisted of a psychiatric clinical sample (N=112) (male, n=79; female, n=33) of toddlers (12- to 42-months old). Both mothers and fathers completed the BITSEA and mothers completed the Child Behavior Checklist 2/3 (CBCL). Children and their parents were administered a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. Parents were also given the Autistic Behavior Checklist (AuBC) and the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community (ABC). The internal consistency of BITSEA scores was good to excellent for both parents. The BITSEA/Problem (P) scores were significantly correlated with Internalizing, Externalizing and Total Problem scores of the CBCL, all subscores of ABC and total score of AuBC. The BITSEA/Competence (C) scores were significantly inversely correlated with ABC total and AuBC lethargy scores. With respect to a community sample, BITSEA/P scores were significantly higher in the disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) and anxiety/depression (Anx/Dep) groups and BITSEA/C scores were significantly lower in the autism group. These results support the reliability and validity of the BITSEA as a screening tool that may be employed in primary health care services and in psychiatric clinical settings for assessing social-emotional/behavioral problems and delays in competence in infants and toddlers.
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