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What is the purpose of the child behavior checklist for ages 4 to 18?

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Quick Answer

The purpose of the Child Behavior Checklist for ages 4 to 18 is to help determine whether or not children and teenagers have "behavior problems" or "social problems," according to Nova Southeastern University. The Child Behavior Checklist can be used by psychologists, parents, teachers and other child care providers to help identify at-risk children for behavior and social problems.

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Full Answer

The Child Behavior Checklist was developed by Thomas M. Achenbach by reviewing studies, parental anecdotes and existing literature, according to Nova Southeastern University. The checklist is given to children who are old enough to answer on their own, or is administered through interviewers. The checklist is broken into groups, separated into behaviors such as "Has trouble sleeping or sleeps excessively" and "Doesn't seem sorry for hurting others," reports Sacramento Psychology. These behaviors have a scale of 1 to 5 and are answered with the "1" indicating "never, and the "5" indicating "very frequently." The test administrator then adds up the numbers for analysis.

Children who take the Child Behavior Checklist and score high need to see a psychologist to help work through existing issues or thwart the development of future issues, according to the University of Michigan and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The Child Behavior Checklist covers both internalized and externalized behaviors, including anxious, overcontrolled, depressive, aggressive, undercontrolled and hyperactive behaviors. It also looks at social withdrawal, destructive behavior, attention problems, thought problems and somatic complaints, among others.

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