Parent Ratings of Behavior: Contextually Based Assessment for Children and Adolescents

Melissa Mordell, University of Pennsylvania


This study was based on the recognition that psychologists have an obligation to conduct multifaceted and contextually relevant assessments of children to identify those at risk for behavioral and emotional difficulties. Legal and ethical mandates stress the need for competent and efficient modes of assessing children's behavioral disturbances in order to inform pertinent intervention strategies. The current research developed a parent-report behavioral scale. Adjustment Scale for Children and Adolescents: Parent Edition (ASCA: P) was created as an adaptation of the original, teacher-report Adjustment Scale for Children and Adolescents (ASCA; McDermott, 1994). The study investigated several properties of ASCA: P, including: validity evidenced by latent structure and external criteria; reliability evidenced by internal consistency and stability over time; invariance and generalizability; and age and gender variability with respect to ASCA: P syndromes. The sample was comprised of 314 children from suburban and urban communities. Exploratory components analysis, using equamax rotation methods revealed a three-component structure. The component syndromes, Unsocialized, Avoidant, and Restless Impulsive, indicated substantial validity, reliability and generalization across random subgroups with the exception of the Avoidant syndrome, which achieved insufficient internal consistency coefficients for females and minorities (.62 and .64 respectively). The syndromes were related in significant and meaningful ways to other indicators of children's behaviors. Indices of temporal stability were between .67 and .84 for the syndromes with a total score temporal coefficient of .85. Age and gender analyses indicated significant differences across demographic groups with respect to the three ASCA: P syndromes. Outcomes are discussed in light of current literature on reliability of parental reports and assessment practices. Results indicate that ASCA: P holds substantial potential, but further development is in order to further establish its utility as a measure of children and adolescent behavioral adjustment.

Subject Area

Quantitative psychology|Behavioral psychology|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Mordell, Melissa, "Parent Ratings of Behavior: Contextually Based Assessment for Children and Adolescents" (2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3015346.