Assessment of children’s emotional adjustment: Construction and validation of a new instrument.


Background: The present study describes the Children’s Emotional Adjustment Scale (CEAS), a 47-item parent-reported scale designed to capture children’s emotional functioning on four continuous dimensions. Method: A large community sample of mothers of children (n = 606) aged 6-13 years was used to examine the psychometric properties of the CEAS. Results: Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis supported the hypothesized four-factor structure of the instrument: (1) temper control; (2) anxiety control; (3) mood repair; and (4) social assertiveness. Cronbach’s alphas for the factors were consistently above 0.90, and convergent validity of the factors was satisfactory with maternal ratings of child psychopathology. Children rated by their mothers as having emotional problems in the clinical range on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire had significantly lower scores on the CEAS scales. Conclusions: The CEAS is a psychometrically sound instrument, covering healthy emotional adjustment as well as maladjustment. The scale might prove to be valuable in the assessment and screening of behaviours underlying child psychopathology.