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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: The Children’s Behavior Questionnaire very short scale: Psychometric properties and development of a one-item temperament scale

item Sleddens, Ester
item Hughes, Sheryl
item O'connor, Teresia
item Beltran, Alicia
item Baranowski, Janice
item Nicklas, Theresa
item Baranowski, Tom

Submitted to: Psychological Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2012
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Sleddens, E.F., Hughes, S.O., O'Connor, T.M., Beltran, A., Baranowski, J.C., Nicklas, T.A., Baranowski, T. 2012. The Children’s Behavior Questionnaire very short scale: Psychometric properties and development of a one-item temperament scale. Psychological Reports. 110(1):197-217.

Interpretive Summary: A simple, easy-to-complete one item question to measure a child's temperament (i.e. personality) would be very useful in some applied situations (e.g. in video games to tailor a child character's responses to a parent). We compared how parents responded to a one item question to a more traditional 36 item questionnaire of temperament. The one item scale performed well enough to use it in applied situations where it is just not possible to use long questionnaires.

Technical Abstract: Little research has been conducted on the psychometrics of the very short scale (36 items) of the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire, and no one-item temperament scale has been tested for use in applied work. In this study, 237 United States caregivers completed a survey to define their child’s behavioral patterns (i.e. Surgency, Negative Affectivity, Effortful Control) using both scales. Psychometrics of the 36-item Children’s Behavior Questionnaire were examined using classical test theory, principal factor analysis, and item response modeling. Classical test theory analysis demonstrated adequate internal consistency and factor analysis confirmed a three-factor structure. Potential improvements to the measure were identified using item response modeling. A one-item (three response categories) temperament scale was validated against the three temperament factors of the 36-item scale. The temperament response categories correlated with the temperament factors of the 36-item scale, as expected. The one-item temperament scale may be applicable for clinical use.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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