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Assessment Rating:
A – Reliability and Validity Demonstrated
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Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6-18 (CBCL/6-18)


Thomas M. Achenbach, PhD

Description / Purpose:

The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) obtains reports from parents, other close relatives, and/or guardians regarding children's competencies and behavioral/emotional problems. Parents provide information for 20 competence items covering their child's activities, social relations, and school performance. The CBCL/6-18 has 118 items that describe specific behavioral and emotional problems, plus two open-ended items for reporting additional problems. Parents rate their child for how true each item is now or within the past 6 months using the following scale: 0 = not true (as far as you know); 1 = somewhat or sometimes true; 2 = very true or often true.

Target Population: Children between the ages of 6 and 18. The pre-2001 version was for ages 4-18. A version of the CBCL is also available for children ages 1 ½ to 5 years of age.

Intended Users: Clinicians and service providers needing to screen for child problem behaviors and emotional difficulties and examine change in behaviors over time.

Time to Administer: 15 minutes.

Completed By: Parents, caregivers, or other individuals who know the child well. Teacher Report Forms, Youth Self-Reports, and Direct Observation Forms are also available for the Child Behavior Checklist.

Modalities Available: Paper and pencil, on-line through Web Link. Scannable forms are available.

Scoring Information: Scoring information is contained in the CBCL manual, available through the publisher, and can be done by hand. The Assessment Data Manager (ADM), a computerized scoring program that can be purchased separately, is also available for scoring.

Languages Available: English, Spanish

Training Requirements for Intended Users: No special qualifications are needed for administering these forms, beyond the tact and sensitivity that are necessary in all dealings with parents, teachers, caregivers, youths, and others. For interpretation of the CBCL, graduate training of at least the Master's degree level would ordinarily be expected, along with knowledge of the theory and methodology of standardized assessment, as well as supervised training in working with the relevant kinds of clients.

Availability: The CBCL, accompanying manual, and scoring materials may be purchased through the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) at www.aseba.org.

Contact Information

Company: ASEBA (Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment)
Website: www.aseba.org
Phone: (802) 656-5130
Fax: (802) 656-5131

Summary of Relevant Psychometric Research

This assessment has received the Assessment Rating of "A – Reliability and Validity Demonstrated" based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The assessment must have 2 or more published, peer-reviewed studies that demonstrated that the measure is reliable and valid. Please see the Assessment Rating Scale for more information.

Show relevant research...

Extensive research on the psychometrics of the CBCL has been conducted by the developers. For a detailed description, please refer to the CBCL manual. The chapter on reliability and validity can be viewed on the CBCL website at www.aseba.org.

Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for ASEBA school-age forms & profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families.

In addition, the psychometrics of the CBCL in different cultures and languages has been researched, with the CBCL found to be a valid and reliable measure in many different racial and ethnic groups.

Nakamura, B. J., Ebesutani, C., Bernstein, A., & Chorpita, B. F. (2009). A psychometric analysis of the Child Behavior Checklist DSM-Oriented Scales. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 31, 178-189.


Participants — N=673. Participants were selected on the basis of the availability of completed CBCL data from 813 consecutive referrals made to the Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CCBT), at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, for a mental health assessment. Mean

Race/Ethnicity — 47.8% Multiethnic, 14.4% Asian, 14.1% White


The Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6-18 (CBCL/6-18) possesses newly developed DSM-Oriented Scales, constructed through expert clinical judgment to match selected categories for behavioral/emotional problems as described in the DSM-IV. The present investigation examined the basic psychometric properties for all six DSM-Oriented Scales (i.e., Affective, Anxiety, Somatic, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity, Oppositional, and Conduct Scales) in a large clinical sample of children and adolescents (N=673). Findings from the present study provide strong evidence for the reliability, as well as convergent and discriminative validity, of these scales. It appears that the DSM-Oriented Scales may provide accurate supplementary information that may be considered when formulating clinical diagnoses.

Aschenbrand, S. G., Angelosante, A. G., & Kendall, P. C. (2005). Discriminant validity and clinical utility of the CBCL with anxiety-disordered youth. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34(4), 735-746.


Participants — Participants were the mothers and fathers of 130 children (ages 7 to 14; M = 9.61 years, SD = 1.74; 69 boys, 61 girls) who were evaluated at a specialty mental health clinic (100 were referred for treatment; 30 were nonanxious volunteers).

Race/Ethnicity — 89.2% Caucasian, 9.2% African American, and, 1.5% other.


This study investigated the utility of several scales of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) when diagnosing anxiety disorders in youth. For both mothers' and fathers' reports, the highest correlations were found between the Anxious/Depressed subscale and the severity of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The second highest relations were between the Withdrawn subscale and the severity of social phobia (SP). Using either mothers' reports or fathers' reports, receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analyses identified cutoff scores that were useful in ruling in the presence of an anxiety disorder in general but did not identify cutoff scores to rule in the presence of principal GAD or principal SP. For mothers' reports only, receiver operating characteristics analyses identified a useful cutoff score to rule out the presence of an anxiety disorder, as well as a cutoff score to rule out the presence of principal GAD. Finally, discriminant function analyses determined the most useful subscales for ruling in and ruling out an anxiety disorder in general, as well as principal GAD and principal SP. Findings are discussed with regard to diagnosis of child anxiety and the clinical utility of the CBCL with anxious youth.

Hudziak, J. J., Copeland, W., Stanger, C., & Wadsworth, M. (2004). Screening for DSM-IV externalizing disorders with the Child Behavior Checklist: A receiver-operating characteristic analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(7), 1299-307.


Participants — The sample included 370 children (187 probands and 183 siblings) participating in a family genetic study of attention and aggressive behavior problems.

Race/Ethnicity — Not Specified


This study examines the diagnostic accuracy of the CBCL syndrome AS scales for predicting DSM-IV Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder with or without Conduct Disorder (ODD/CD). Univariate and stepwise logistic regression analyses were used to derive models for predicting two diagnostic conditions: ADHD and ODD/CD. The Attention Problems syndrome significantly predicted ADHD, and ODD/CD was significantly predicted by the Aggressive Behavior syndrome. Both scales demonstrated good diagnostic accuracy, as assessed through receiver operating characteristics analyses. Cut-point analyses confirmed the utility of low T-scores, 55 on the respective syndromes, for efficiently discriminating cases from noncases. CBCL syndromes display good diagnostic efficiency for assessing common externalizing disorders in children.

Date Reviewed: April 2010