Multi-informant scores and gender differences on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for New Zealand children.


The problems of New Zealand youth are significant, and increasing, but early intervention may assist children to avoid negative life outcomes. Teachers, parents, and students of 74 Year 6 children in five New Zealand primary schools completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Between 2.7 and 5.5% of children sampled were identified as having total difficulties scores in the ‘abnormal’ range, which is lower than norms established by other samples. Teacher ratings were lower than the ratings supplied by parents, which were lower than those given by students. Teacher ratings also varied by gender, with boys being identified as having more problems than girls. However, parent and student ratings showed little gender bias, suggesting that obtaining multiple informant information on the SDQ is useful, as it appears teachers are providing different information on students than parents or students themselves. We discuss the use of screening procedures, particularly in relation to the Vulnerable Children’s initiatives.