Longitudinal Invariance of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Across Ages 4 to 16 in the ALSPAC Sample.

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Speyer, Lydia Gabriela  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9071-4020
Auyeung, Bonnie 

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) has been widely used to study children's psychosocial development longitudinally; however, such analyses assume longitudinal measurement invariance, that is, they presuppose that symptom manifestations are measured comparably across different ages. Violations of this assumption could bias longitudinal analyses and should therefore be empirically tested. This study tested longitudinal measurement invariance within a confirmatory factor analysis framework in the U.K.-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (N = 13,988). Results indicated that SDQ scores showed configural, metric, scalar, and residual invariance across ages 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, and 16, supporting its use for comparing variances, covariances, and means over time within a latent variable model as well as using observed scores. At age 4, configural invariance was not supported, indicating that mental health symptoms as measured by the SDQ manifest differently at this age, thus necessitating caution when comparing symptoms as measured by SDQ scores at this age to later ages.


Peer reviewed: True

Funder: University of Bristol; FundRef: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000883

Funder: Medical Research Council; FundRef: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000265

ALSPAC, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, confirmatory factor analysis, longitudinal measurement invariance, Child, Humans, Child, Preschool, Longitudinal Studies, Surveys and Questionnaires, Mental Disorders, Parents, Mental Health, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Psychometrics, Reproducibility of Results
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SAGE Publications
Baily Thomas Charitable Fund (TRUST/VC/AC/SG/469207686)
H2020 Marie Skłodowska–Curie Actions (No.813546)
Wellcome (217065/Z/19/Z)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/W001519/1)