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Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)

The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983) measures a broad range of behavioral and emotional problems and is widely used for clinical and research purposes. Achenbach and Edelbrock (1983) conducted a factor analysis to develop 118 items measuring problem behavior for children and adolescents.


A result of this study, the CBCL consists of 140 items that assess behavioral or emotional problems of children aged 6 to 18 years. The main information providers for the CBCL are parents or other individuals who know the child well. They rate problem behaviors and competencies.

Three types of forms are available: Teacher Report Forms, Youth Self-Reports, and Direct Observation Forms. The first section of the scale includes 20 items related to the child’s social competency, as rated by parents. These items address the child’s participation in sports, hobbies, games, activities, organizations, jobs, chores, friendships, social interactions during play, independent work, and school functioning. The second section consists of 120 items on behavior or emotional problems exhibited during the past six months as rated on a 3-point scale. The main areas of this construct are aggression, hyperactivity, bullying, conduct problems, defiance, and violence. The following behavioral and emotional problems are also measured: aggressive behavior, anxious/depressed, attention problems, delinquent rule-breaking behavior, social problems, somatic complaints, thought problems, withdrawn, externalizing, internalizing, and total problems.


Author (yr) Age Range (yrs) Method of Administration/Format Approx. Time to Administer Subscales
Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Achenbach & Rescorla (2000) 6-18

140 items

Self-administered or administered through an interview; norm-referenced comprehensive measure of behavior; examines aggression, hyperactivity, bullying, conduct problems, defiance, violence

Three formats: Teacher Report Forms, Youth Self-Reports, and Direct Observation Forms

Yields standard scores: Total Competence, Total Problems, Internalizing, Externalizing, Attention Problems

15 min.

Aggressive Behavior, Anxious/Depressed, Attention Problems, Delinquent Rule-Breaking Behavior, Social Problems, Somatic Complaints, Thought Problems, Withdrawn, Externalizing, Internalizing, Total Problems, plus DSM-oriented scales

Availability: ASEBA: Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment,


Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Pandolfi, Magyar, & Dill (2009). 128 - Age Range: 42.43 (mean months) Validity Reliability

Researchers examined the use of the CBCL in identifying emotional and behavioral disorders in children with ASD. Internal consistency of the CBCL scales was good for all scales (ranging from .49-.93) except for Somatic Complaints.

Construct validity of the CBCL scales (with the exception of Sleep Problems) was supported using confirmatory factor analysis.

Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Sikora, Hall, Hartley, Gerrard-Morris, & Cagle (2008). 147 - Age Range: 36-71 (months) Validity

Results discussed in narrative above.

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