A Systematic Review of Some Reliability and Validity Issues regarding the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Focusing on Its Use in Out-of-Home Care

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose: A systematic review was conducted to analyze the inter-rater reliability, cross-informant consistency, test-retest reliability, and temporal stability of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and its ability to discriminate. Method: We searched three databases for articles about the SDQ (parent, teacher, and self-report version), used samples of children up to age 18 and reported inter-rater reliability, cross-informant reliability, test-retest reliability, temporal stability, specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV). Results: Focusing on the TDS, inter-rater, and cross-informant reliability showed acceptable values, but respondent types (e.g., mothers and fathers) are not interchangeable. Test-retest reliability and temporal stability were also acceptable, and not excessively high. Specificity and NPV were acceptable but not sensitivity and PPV. Discussion and Conclusion: Greater transparency is needed about who the respondent is when the term “parents” is used. The SDQ is an important supplement to service-as-usual assessments by social care professionals.


External organisations
  • Metropolitan University College, Denmark
  • National Research Center for Children and Youth at High Risk (NUBU)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
  • Nursing
  • Sociology


  • out-of-home care, reliability, SDQ, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, validity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Social Work (United States)
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch