Normative data for the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for young children in Australia.


Aim: The aim of this study was to report normative data for the parent-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) from a large population cohort of young children aged 4-6 years from Victoria, Australia, to establish age- and sex-specific cut-off values for future use, and to determine the scale reliability of the SDQ for children aged 4-6 years. Methods: Parents of children (n = 53 372) entering their first year of school in Victoria in 2010 completed a survey via a 15-page School Entrant Health Questionnaire reporting on the physical and emotional well-being of their child (including the SDQ), use of child health and other support services, and a range of socio-demographic variables. Reliability was assessed and norms generated. Appropriate cut-off values for each SDQ scale and total difficulties scale were generated for each age group separately for each sex. Results: The five scales of the SDQ and total difficulties scale generally had acceptable internal reliability. Mean SDQ scale scores differed for both sex and age, although only a narrow age range is examined in this study. Cut-off values were marginally higher for girls (lower for prosocial) and generally increased with age. Conclusions: This study has utilised a large Australian population sample of children to generate age- and sex-specific cut-off values that define SDQ scores as ‘normal’, ‘borderline’ or ‘abnormal’ for Australian children aged 4-6 years.