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Xjenza Online Vol. 4 Iss. 2 - December 2016
Examining the Model Structure of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)

Authors: Lara Marie Azzopardi, Liberato Camilleri, Fiona Sammut, Carmel Cefai

Corresponding: Liberato Camilleri (

Keywords: Social emotional and behaviour diculties (SEBD), Exploratory Factor Analysis, Con rmatory Factor Analysis, Structural Equation Modeling


Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 4 Iss. 2 - December 2016

The Strengths and Diculties questionnaire (SDQ), proposed by R. Goodman (1997), has been used by researchers to measure social, emotional and behaviour diculties in children. The SDQ includes four dif- culty subscales, measuring emotional, conduct, hyperactivity and peer problems. It also includes a fth subscale, measuring prosocial behaviour. Dickey and Blumberg (2004) suggested that the SDQ factor structure can be reduced to three dimensions comprising the prosocial, externalisation and internalisation subscales. Externalising problems combine conduct and hyperactivity, while internalising problems combine peer and emotional diculties. A sample of 5200 local students aged between 4 and 16 years was used to investigate the factor structure underlying the teachers' version of the SDQ. Statistical analysis was conducted using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), Con rmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The study nds that the three-factor solution ts the data well. EFA establishes good internal consistency of these three factors. Moreover, several t indices con rm this three-factor model through CFA. The externalisation construct linking hyperactivity and conduct problems is more robust than the internalisation construct linking emotional to peer problems. Through SEM, it was deduced that the Externalisation Factor dominates both the Internalisation and the Prosocial Factors. This implies that by controlling externalized behaviour leads to a better control of internalized and prosocial behaviours of students.