The use of self-report inventories with children is a relatively new phenomenon. It was heretofore commonly believed that children could not accurately report on their own feelings, perceptions, and behaviors. As a result, parent and teacher reports have routinely been preferred over the use of self-report inventories in child personality assessment. One of the first popular child assessment instruments, for example, the Personality Inventory for Children (PIC; Wirt et al., 1984), resembled a “junior” MMPI. It included a large item set similar to the MMPI, and the name conveys similarities to omnibus personality inventories. Yet, the PIC was, and is (PIC-2; Lachar & Gruber, 2001) a parent rating scale.
As a result, many of the omnibus scales described in this chapter are relatively new. This is a result of the growing consensus that at least older children and adolescents can provide useful information about their feelings and behavior. However, as with any assessment tool, there are limitations to the reliability, validity, and usefulness of any self-report measure, and these limitations should be taken into account when designing an assessment battery and interpreting its results.