The Structure of the School Social Behavior Scales: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis

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Assessment for Effective Intervention






SAGE Publications

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The School Social Behavior Scales (SSBS; Merrell 1993a) is a behavior rating instrument designed for use by teachers and other school personnel in evaluating social and antisocial behavior of children in grades K through 12. Published psychometric data for the SSBS have been promising to date. Although exploratory factor-analytic techniques were used to define its subscales, a confirmatory methodology has not been used with this measure. The present research sought to confirm the structure of the SSBS using the national data collected for the standardization and norming of the instrument. The standardization sample was split to allow for post-hoc model fitting, if necessary. The initial model tested for both the Social Competence and Antisocial Behavior scales was in line with the scoring recommendations of the author, and results suggested some model mis-specification. Alternative models were tested to identify a model that would provide a better fit to the data. After identification of an acceptable model, the invariance of the new model was tested with the remaining half of the standardization sample. Generally, both scales performed well and resulted in models very similar to those originally proposed by the author of the instrument. These findings support the continued use of the SSBS for both clinical and research purposes. Results are discussed from the perspectives of screening, assessment, and intervention planning with children and youth in K-12 educational settings.