The assessment of youth psychopathology in Trinidad and Tobago: A cross -cultural construct validity study of the Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents (ASCA)

Suzanne Marie Grim, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the cross-cultural construct validity of the Adjustment Scale for Children and Adolescents (ASCA) using an ethnically diverse, nationally representative, sample of 478 elementary school students (aged 5–14 years) from Trinidad and Tobago. The ASCA, standardized nationally in the United States, is a 156 item teacher behavior rating scale designed to assess eight youth psychopathology syndromes: Attention-Deficit Hyperactive, Solitary Aggressive (provocative), Diffident, Oppositional Defiant, Avoidant, Solitary Aggressive (impulsive), Lethargic, and Delinquent. Exploratory principal component analyses yielded a five-component structure: Attention-Deficit Hyperactive, Impulsive-Aggressive, Diffident, Avoidant, and Oppositional Defiant syndromes. Second-order exploratory factor analyses supported a two-factor solution, which categorized first-order psychopathology syndromes into Overactivity and Underactivity dimensions. Traditional standards of construct validity were met for both first- and second-order constructs (i.e., criteria for internal reliability, specificity, interfactor correlations, psychological meaningfulness, etc.). More conservative validity criteria were applied to assess the invariance and generalizability of both structures to random and demographic subgroups. The invariance of first- and second-order structures to random subsamples was shown. Whereas limitations in the generalizability of three first-order components (Impulsive-Aggressive, Avoidant, and Oppositional Defiant) were found, the second-order structure was shown to be generalizable to all demographic subgroups. Confirmatory item clustering provided support for the integrity of the five-component first-order structure. Confirmatory factor analyses were applied as an additional check of model fit. Resultant goodness-of-fit statistics provided support for the second-order structure. Main effects were indicated for age and sex across the second-order factors, with males and younger students evidencing more behavioral problems. In addition, sex differences for the Impulsive-Aggressive and Oppositional Defiant syndromes were found, as were age differences for the Oppositional Defiant and Avoidant syndromes, and ethnic differences for the Impulsive-Aggressive and Oppositional Defiant syndromes. Implications are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Psychology, Psychometrics

Recommended Citation

Suzanne Marie Grim, "The assessment of youth psychopathology in Trinidad and Tobago: A cross -cultural construct validity study of the Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents (ASCA)" (January 1, 2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3054946.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3054946

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