Research Projects Using Growing Up Data

Psychometric properties and cultural equivalence of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

Publication Date:
Lead Organisation:
University of Auckland
Lead Researcher:
Denise Neumann, Elizabeth Peterson, Fiona Langridge, Jane Cha, John Fenaughty, Karen Waldie, Polly Atatoa Carr, Rebecca Evans, Renee Liang, Sarah-Jaine Paine, Seini Taufa, Stephanie D'Souza, Te Kani Kingi
Access Type:
Primary Classification:
Psych and Cog
Secondary Classification:
Family and Whanau

Educational achievement and problems in primary and secondary school aged children can arise as a result of behavioural and emotional problems. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) for parents is a tool used worldwide for this purpose to screen children’s psychosocial attributes. Despite the SDQ being widely used across the globe and having a growing research avenue, most studies use cross-sectional evidence and there are several inconsistencies in the factor structure and measurement invariance of the scale. Therefore, more age-specific, context-relevant validation of the SDQ scale is needed. Furthermore, the SDQ is increasingly being used across Aotearoa New Zealand, for example, with the New Zealand Health Survey, the Incredible Years’ service, Gateway Assessment, B4 School Checks, and Oranga Tamariki social services. However, reference population data for cut-off points used is not based on an Aotearoa New Zealand population and the SDQ problem subscales include items that are biased by ethnicity and lack cultural equivalence with particular relevance for Māori, Pacific and Asian whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand. Cultural equivalence therefore needs further investigation. The aim of this research is to gain a better understanding of the structure and psychometric properties of the SDQ within different sociodemographic groups to inform about its applicability and appropriateness within the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Analysis will include psychometric testing of the 8Y SDQ including confirmatory factor analysis and measurement invariance testing across ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. Furthermore, analysis of equivalence and changes across ethnicities for all SDQ items at 2Y, 4.5Y, 8Y will comprise exploratory factor analysis across ethnic groups.