The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ): A proxy measure of parenting stress

Dominic McSherry, Montserrat Fargas Malet, Kerrylee Weatherall

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) (Goodman, 1997) is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire for three to 16 years olds. It is commonly used in clinical practice and research, particularly in the UK, and is completed by parents, carers and teachers. The measure was utilised in a cross-sectional phase of a longitudinal study of children in care, namely the Care Pathways and
Outcomes Study, alongside a measure of parenting stress, the Parenting Stress Index – Short Form (PSI-SF) (Abidin, 1995), with a sub-sample of children (n=72) aged nine to fourteen, and their parents and carers. A Pearson Correlation Coefficient indicated a strong positive correlation between these two measures (r= .71), with normal and abnormal scores on one measure corresponding to normal and abnormal scores on the other. Consequently, it is argued that the SDQ may be considered a proxy measure of parenting stress, with scores in the clinical range being highly predictive of clinical levels of parenting stress. As such, SDQ-informed interventions for adopted children and children in
care, and others where behavioural problems have been detected, should be developed to include a consideration of the needs of parents and carers, specifically in relation to reducing levels of parenting stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-115
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date24 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019


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