The MacArthur three-city outcome study: Evaluating multi-informant measures of young children's symptomatology

Jennifer C. Ablow, Jeffrey R. Measelle, Helena C. Kraemer, Richard Harrington, Joan Luby, Nancy Smider, Lisa Dierker, Valerie Clark, Bernadka Dubicka, Amy Heffelfinger, Marilyn J. Essex, David J. Kupfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Objective: Three sites collaborated to evaluate the reliability and validity of 2 measures, developed in tandem to assess symptomatology and impairment in 4- to 8-year-old children: the Berkeley Puppet Interview Symptomatology Scales (BPI-S) and the Health and Behavior Questionnaire (HBQ). Method: In this case-control study, mothers, teachers, and children reported on multiple dimensions of children's mental health for 120 children (67 community and 53 clinic-referred children). Results: The BPI-S and the parent and teacher versions of the HBQ demonstrated strong test-retest reliability and discriminant validity on a majority of symptom scales. Medium to strong effect sizes (Cohen d) indicated that children in the clinic- referred group were viewed by all 3 informants as experiencing significantly higher levels of symptomatology than nonreferred, community children. Conclusion: The availability of a set of multi-informant instruments that are psychometrically sound, developed in tandem, and developmentally appropriate for young children will enhance researchers' ability to investigate and understand symptomatology or the emergence of symptomatology in middle childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1580-1590
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Assessment
  • Psychopathology
  • Symptomatology
  • Young children


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