The Developmental Behaviour Checklist, (DBC), (Einfeld & Tonge, 1992, 1995; 2002) is a questionnaire which is completed by parents or other primary carers or teachers, reporting problems over a six month period. The DBC shares the structure of the Child Behaviour Checklist (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983), that is, each behavioural description is scored on a 0, 1, 2 rating where 0 = ‘not true as far as you know', 1 = ‘somewhat or sometimes true', and 2 = ‘very true or often true'. The items are completely independently derived from a study of the medical files of 7000 intellectually handicapped children and adolescents seen in a developmental assessment clinic.
Five versions of the Checklist are available: the Parent/Carer Version (DBC-P); Teacher Version (DBC-T); the adult version (DBC-A); the short-form (DBC-P24); and the monitoring chart (DBC-M). In addition, the DBC-Score software used for scoring is available.
The DBC-P is a 96 item instrument used for the assessment of behavioural and emotional problems young people aged 4-18 years with developmental and intellectual disabilities. It is completed by a parent or carer. It can be used in clinical practice in assessments and monitoring interventions, and in research studies.
The DBC-T is an instrument for the assessment of behavioural and emotional problems young people aged 4-18 years with developmental and intellectual disabilities and is completed by teachers or teacher aides. It can be used in clinical practice in assessments and monitoring interventions, and in research studies.
The DBC-A is a 107 item instrument for the assessment of behavioural and emotional problems of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and is completed by family members or paid carers who know the person well. It can be used in clinical practice in assessments and monitoring interventions, and in research studies.
The DBC-M is used for the daily monitoring of specific behaviours. It allows for up to five behaviours to be scored daily and requires far less time than completing the full DBC versions. The DBC-M is often used in clinical interventions with individuals to map progress.
The DBC-P24 is a 24-item short form of the DBC-P, completed by parents or carers, and has been developed to provide a brief measure of the TBPS for research purposes where large numbers of questionnaires are administered. It does not however, calculate subscale scores of the DBC-P. The items were chosen for low bias and high precision from 100 randomly selected item sets.
DBC Scoring Software
The DBC scoring software (DBC-Score) has been designed to enter, score and store DBC checklist data, and to provide raw and percentile scores, on-screen or as a printed report. It is primarily intended to be an aid to clinicians and researchers who require a quick and accurate method for entering and scoring the DBC.
DBC-Score runs with MS Excel - Windows and requires Macros to be enabled to run. It is suitable for use in clinical or research settings, providing a safe way to store important data which can be imported into other spreadsheet, database or statistical software.
The DBC-P has been translated into other languages, namely Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Vietnamese.
The DBC-T has been translated into Spanish, Dutch, French and Finnish.
The DBC-A has been translated into other languages, namely Dutch, Finnish and French.
The instrument has a high inter-rater reliability between parents and between teachers. Test re-test reliability and internal consistency are also high. The DBC-P has also been demonstrated to be sensitive to change over time.
The DBC-A has acceptable test retest and inter-rater reliability assessed separately with family members and paid carers and internal consistency is also high.
There is also a high correlation between a total score on the DBC checklist and two other measures of behaviour disturbance in children with intellectual disability which require professionals to administer them. These are the AAMD Adaptive Behaviour Scales (Lambert & Windmiller, 1981), and the Scales of Independent Behaviour (Bruininks et al, 1984). The total score on the DBC also correlates with child psychiatrists' ratings of severity of psychopathology using Rutter's (1970) definition. The instrument has high criterion group validity in distinguishing psychiatric cases from non cases (t = 7.8, p < .001).
There is a high correlation between the total score on the DBC-A and two other measures of behavioural and emotional disturbance in adults with ID, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) and the Psychiatric Assessment Schedule for Adults with Developmental Disability Checklist (PAS-ADD). The total score on the DBC-A also correlates with clinician ratings of the presence and severity of psychopathology using Rutter's (1970) definition. The scale has high criterion group validity in distinguishing psychiatric cases from non-cases.
Community norms for the DBC-P are derived from an extensive multicentre epidemiological study (the ACAD study) in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia (Einfeld & Tonge 1996a,b). Norms are available for boys and girls and for the mild, moderate, and severe levels of intellectual disability. Scoresheets are available for both parent and teacher versions of the DBC, on which the young persons total behaviour problem score and subscale scores are compared to the normative sample. The DBC-A manual now also provides Australian norms for adults with developmental disabilities aged 18 to 85 years
The DBC can be scored at three levels. The first is the Total Behaviour Problem Score, which gives an overall measure of behavioural/emotional disturbance. The second level is that of the subscale scores which measure disturbance in five (DBC-P & DBC-T) or six (DBC-A) dimensions. The third level is for scoring of individual items. The norms provide community prevalence rates for 96 individual disturbed behaviours and emotions.
Scores may be entered and calculated in two ways:
- Handscoring. The scores are totalled on the DBC and compared with norms provided on the scoresheet. If you wish to score by hand you need to order scoresheets in addition to the DBC.
- Computer data entry and scoring software (DBC-Score).
A manual for the DBC-P and DBC-T is available. The manual is a comprehensive guide to the development, psychometric properties, applications, normative data and scoring of the DBC-P & DBC-T. A DBC-A manual is now also available.
Applications of the DBC
The DBC-P can be used in clinical settings for assistance with diagnosis and for monitoring of interventions, in population screening and in research settings.
The DBC Autism Screening Algorithm (DBC-ASA) is a 29-item scale, developed using items from the DBC-P. This scale has good validity in discriminating young people (aged 4-18yrs) with autism and intellectual disability from others with intellectual disability.