Using item response theory to evaluate the Children's Behavior Questionnaire: Considerations of general functioning and assessment length. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ; Rothbart, Ahadi, Hershey, & Fisher, 2001) is the most popular assessment for childhood temperament, its psychometric qualities have yet to be examined using Item Response Theory (IRT) methods. These methods highlight in detail the specific contributions of individual items for measuring different facets of temperament. Importantly, with 16 scales for tapping distinct aspects of child functioning (195 items total), the CBQ's length can be prohibitive in many contexts. The detailed information about item functioning provided by IRT methods is therefore especially useful. The current study used IRT methods to analyze the CBQ's 16 temperament scales and identify potentially redundant items. An abbreviated "IRT form" was generated based on these results and evaluated across four independent validation samples. The IRT form was compared to the original and short CBQ forms (Putnam & Rothbart, 2006). Results provide fine-grained detail on the CBQ's psychometric functioning and suggest it is possible to remove up to 39% of the original form's items while largely preserving the measurement precision and content coverage of each scale. This study provides considerable psychometric information about the CBQ's items and scales and highlights future avenues for creating even more efficient high-quality temperament assessments. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • Psychol Assess

author list (cited authors)

  • Clark, D. A., Donnellan, M. B., Durbin, C. E., Brooker, R. J., Neppl, T. K., Gunnar, M., ... Putnam, S. P.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Clark, D Angus||Donnellan, M Brent||Durbin, C Emily||Brooker, Rebecca J||Neppl, Tricia K||Gunnar, Megan||Carlson, Stephanie M||Le Mare, Lucy||Kochanska, Grazyna||Fisher, Philip A||Leve, Leslie D||Rothbart, Mary K||Putnam, Samuel P

publication date

  • October 2020