Can the Child Behavior Checklist be used to screen for motor impairment?

Jan P. Piek, Nicholas C. Barrett, Murray J. Dyck, Angela M. Reiersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aim: It has been suggested that one approach to identifying motor impairment in children is to use the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) as a screening tool. The current study examined the validity of the CBCL in identifying motor impairment. Method: A total of 398 children, 206 females and 192 males, aged from 3 years 9 months to 14 years 10 months were assessed on the McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development to determine their motor ability. Parents completed the CBCL. Results: The 'Clumsy' item on the CBCL was found to predict motor ability independent of the child's age, sex, and scores on other items of the CBCL. However, the sensitivity of the 'Clumsy' item in terms of identifying motor impairment was found to be a low 16.7% compared with specificity of 93.2%. The item 'Not liked' was also found to be a significant predictor of motor impairment. Interpretation: Although the 'Clumsy' and 'Not liked' items were found to have a relationship with motor ability, they should not be relied upon to categorize children as motor impaired versus not impaired. It is possible that these items may be better indicators of motor impairment in children with developmental disorders such as attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, but clinical samples are needed to address this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-204
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


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