Psychometric Properties of Child (0–5 Years) Outcome Measures as used in Randomized Controlled Trials of Parent Programs: A Systematic Review

Publication authors

Nicole Gridley, Sarah Blower, Abby Dunn, Tracey Bywater & Maria Bryant


This systematic review is one of the three which sought to identify measures commonly implemented in parenting program research, and to assess the level of psychometric evidence available for their use with this age group. This review focuses specifically on measures of child social–emotional and behavioral outcomes. Two separate searches of the same databases were conducted; firstly to identify eligible instruments, and secondly to identify studies reporting on the psychometric properties of the identified measures. Five commercial platforms hosting 19 electronic databases were searched from their inception to conducted search dates. Twenty-four measures were identified from Search 1: a systematic search of randomized controlled trial evaluations of parenting programs. For Search 2, inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied to 21,329 articles that described the development and/or validation of the 24 measures identified in Search 1. Thirty articles met the inclusion criteria. resulting in 11 parent report questionnaires and three developmental assessment measures for review. Data were extracted and synthesized to describe the methodological quality of each article using the COSMIN checklist alongside the overall quality rating of the psychometric property reported for each measure. Measure reliability was categorized into four domains (internal consistency, test–re-test, inter-rater, and intra-rater). Measure validity was categorized into four domains (content, structural, convergent/divergent, and discriminant). Results indicated that supporting evidence for included measures is weak. Further work is required to improve the evidence base for those measures designed to assess children’s social–emotional and behavioral development in this age group. PROSPERO Registration number: CRD42016039600.