The assessment of youth behavior pathology in Trinidad and Tobago: The Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents revisited

Michelle Ruth Menaker, University of Pennsylvania


The main purpose of this study is to assess the validity of the Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents (ASCA) for use in the measurement of behavior pathology in youths living in Trinidad and Tobago. The ASCA is a 156-item behavior rating scale that was normed and standardized on a large representative sample of 5- to 17-year-old youths in the United States. The instrument was designed to be completed by classroom teachers and to provide contextually based information on six core psychopathology syndromes: Attention-Deficit Hyperactive, Solitary Aggressive (Provocative), Solitary Aggressive (Impulsive), Diffident, Oppositional Defiant, and Avoidant. The design of the study builds upon a previous investigation by Grim (2002) and addresses some of the major limitations of that research. The study utilizes a stratified random sample (N = 700) of elementary school students from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Exploratory principal components analyses revealed a five-component latent structure that is nearly identical to Grim's (2002) and comports with the six core U.S. ASCA syndromes. All five components demonstrated adequate internal reliability, and remained invariant among random subgroups of the sample. The structure was found to be replicable among demographic subgroups of the population, and generalizability issues are thoroughly discussed. Confirmatory oblique cluster analysis provided further evidence of the verity of the dimensions. A second-order exploratory analysis revealed two overarching dimensions of behavior, Overactivity and Underactivity, that were internally reliable as well as invariant and generalizable to random and specific demographic subgroups. ANOVA resulted in significant differences in syndrome scores for gender and ethnic subgroups of children, which are discussed. Significant gender and ethnicity effects were found when ANOVA was conducted for the second-order dimensions as well. ANOVA was also used to provide information about the relationships between teacher and student demographic backgrounds. One significant interaction effect was found for the relationship between teacher sex and student ethnicity. Normative data are provided on specific problem behaviors in Trinidad and Tobago through base rates of precedence and prevalence, established by rank order correlations and logistic regression, respectively. Implications and relevant literature are thoroughly addressed.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Psychological tests|Behaviorial sciences

Recommended Citation

Menaker, Michelle Ruth, "The assessment of youth behavior pathology in Trinidad and Tobago: The Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents revisited" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3087436.