Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 343–353 | Cite as

Linking the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) with the Multidimensional Assessment Profile of Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB): Advancing a Dimensional Spectrum Approach to Disruptive Behavior

  • Aaron J KaatEmail author
  • Courtney K Blackwell
  • Ryne Estabrook
  • James L Burns
  • Amelie Petitclerc
  • Margaret J Briggs-Gowan
  • Richard C Gershon
  • David Cella
  • Susan B Perlman
  • Lauren S Wakschlag
Original Paper


Disruptive behavior in childhood is common. It spans from normative child misbehaviors to clinically-significant and impairing problems. While there are many rating scales evaluating such behaviors, historically, measurement has emphasized counting the number of symptoms present rather than assessing the normal-abnormal spectrum of behavioral expression. This study uses data from 644 early school age children aggregated from two data sources to statistically link a commonly used symptom count measure, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), to a more developmentally-sensitive measure, the Multidimensional Assessment Profile of Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB). Two links between conceptually similar scales on each measure were developed: CBCL Conduct Problems and MAP-DB Aggression; and CBCL Oppositional Defiant Problems and MAP-DB Temper Loss. We compared two innovative methods—Item Response Theory (IRT) and Deming regression—to determine the optimal linking relationship. Results suggest IRT methods were superior in reducing linking error compared to Deming regression. While Deming regression accurately modeled the mean scores (thus minimizing linking bias), this method could not adequately address the floor effect for scores on the CBCL. For practical purposes, this study provides a crosswalk of score conversions between the CBCL and MAP-DB, such that data aggregation and group comparisons can be made across the two measures; this enables longitudinal analyses with historically-collected CBCL data to transition to the more innovative dimensional scales of the MAP-DB without undo loss of extant data. This study furthers efforts to shift from historical symptom counts to more developmentally-sensitive measurement across the disruptive behaviors spectrum.


Disruptive behavior Linking Item response theory Deming regression MAP-DB CBCL 



Research reported in this publication as supported by the National Institute of Mental Health under award number 1R01MH082830 and 2U01MH082830 (PI: Wakschlag); R01MH107540 and K01MH094467 (PI: Perlman); and by the National Institutes of Health Office of the Director under award number 1U24OD023319 (MPIs: Gershon, Cella).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the original studies which contributed de-identified data to this re-analysis.

Statement on Human Rights

This study involved re-analysis of de-identified data and thus was not human subjects research. For this type of study, formal consent is not required. However, all original studies contributing data to this re-analysis were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Statement on the Welfare of Animals

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron J Kaat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Courtney K Blackwell
    • 1
  • Ryne Estabrook
    • 1
  • James L Burns
    • 1
  • Amelie Petitclerc
    • 1
  • Margaret J Briggs-Gowan
    • 2
  • Richard C Gershon
    • 1
  • David Cella
    • 1
  • Susan B Perlman
    • 3
  • Lauren S Wakschlag
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine and the Institute for Innovations in Developmental SciencesNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of ConnecticutFarmingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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