Internal consistency of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in Amazonian children

Isabel Giacomini, Maria Rosário O. Martins, Alicia Matijasevich, Marly A. Cardoso

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To describe the frequency of behavioral problems and the internal consistency of the parent version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-P) in Amazonian preschool children during the covid-19 pandemic. METHODS: Data from the Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition in Acre (MINA-Brazil) study, a population-based birth cohort in the Western Brazilian Amazon, were used. The SDQ-P was applied in 2021 at the five-year follow-up visit to parents or caregivers of 695 children (49.4% of which were girls). This instrument is a short behavioral screening questionnaire composed of 25 items reorganized into five subscales: emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship problems, and prosocial behavior. Cases of behavioral problems were defined according to the original SDQ cut-offs based on United Kingdom norms. Moreover, cut off points were estimated based on the SDQ-P percentile results of our study sample. Internal consistency was assessed by calculating Cronbach's alpha coefficient and McDonald's omega for each scale. RESULTS: According to the cut-offs based on our studied population distribution, 10% of all children had high or very high total difficulty scores, whereas it was almost twice when the original SDQ cut-offs based on United Kingdom norms, were applied (18%). Differences were also observed in the other scales. Compared to girls, boys showed higher means of externalizing problem and lower means of prosocial behavior. The five-factor model showed a moderate internal consistency of the items for all scales (0.60 ≤ α ≤ 0.40), except for total difficulty scores, which it considered substantial (α > 0.61). CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the usefulness of SDQ in our study population and reinforce the need for strategies and policy development for mental health care in early life in the Amazon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4s
JournalRevista de saude publica
Volume57Suppl 2
Issue numberSuppl 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Brazil
  • Child
  • Child Health
  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Female
  • Human
  • male
  • Pandemic
  • Preschool child
  • Questionnaire

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