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Criterion-related validity of challenging behaviour scales: A review of evidence in the literature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Published1 Mar 2015

King's Authors


Background: Behaviour that challenges has negative impacts on physical and emotional well-being and quality of life. Challenging behaviour scales are used to identify needs and evaluate interventions and must be valid measures. Criterion-related validity is important, and the best quality assessment uses direct measures of behaviour as criteria. Previous reviews of scales affirm their validity but present little supporting evidence. The current review examines the evidence presented in studies of validity. 

Methods: Searches of MEDLINE and PsycINFO to identify scales that focus on challenging behaviour and find publications that assess their criterion-related validity. 

Results: Searches identified twelve scales and 21 publications that assess validity. One assessment used direct measures of behaviour, and the remainder used indirect measures that themselves have limited evidence of validity, including membership of diagnostic or service groups and other scales. 

Conclusions: Little firm evidence of validity was found, but what was found is encouraging.

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