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Reliability and Validity of the Child and Adolescent Behavior Assessment (CABA): A Brief Structured Scale


Use of valid, affordable, accessible, and brief measures facilitates the assessment of mental health outcomes. The Child and Adolescent Behavior Assessment Scale, a brief, structured scale, assesses problem behavior through patient and/or informant report. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the scale’s psychometric properties. In the cross-sectional study presented, a large national sample of youth (aged 5–18) admitted for psychiatric treatment (N = 32,689) was examined. The two major domains of problem behavior assessed were Internalizing and Externalizing. Reliability was good to excellent with alpha levels ranging from 0.874 to 0.917. Additional items measured Risk Behavior (α = 0.648). Subscale total scores correlated well with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale for Children, 9-item version (BPRS-C-9). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported the three-factor, multidimensional model of problem behavior as satisfactory for child and adolescent use, although further research is required to refine some items for clarity and improved model fit.

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The authors acknowledge the valuable comments and suggestions of Dominique Simons, MS and Elizabeth Vera-Bolanos, MS who are employed by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc., and Sara E. Brady, PhD of Elite Research, LLC. These individuals contributed through uncompensated manuscript review. Dr. Amanda Morin had full access to all data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Dr. Morin has served as consultant to a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc. and Stacy Miller (, Johan Smith (, and Karen Johnson ( are employees of a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc. The authors report no other potential conflicts of interest. No part of this manuscript nor the data represented have been published previously and are not under consideration elsewhere. The views expressed in this publication are the authors’ and do not represent the official position of Universal Health Services, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries, whose funding facilitated the collection of these data and preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Amanda Leigh Morin.

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Morin, A.L., Miller, S.J., Smith, J.R. et al. Reliability and Validity of the Child and Adolescent Behavior Assessment (CABA): A Brief Structured Scale. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 48, 200–213 (2017).

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  • Child and Adolescent Behavior Assessment
  • CABA
  • Outcomes assessment
  • Psychometrics
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale for Children