Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Mary Lou Kelley


The purpose of this study was to develop a Toddler Behavior Screening Inventory (TBSI) to rapidly assess maternal-perceived toddler behavior problems. The TBSI is a 40-item socially valid measure intended for use in clinical settings as it will aid child care professionals in planning parent-child intervention strategies. Empirical methods were followed to construct the TBSI. The item pool was generated primarily by 187 mothers with toddlers and relevant professionals. Items were reviewed and formatted before 312 mothers rated the initial 93-item TBSI in terms of behavior frequency and problem severity in order to eliminate items. Forty items were retained based on item analyses. The TBSI frequency and problem scales were found to have adequate initial reliability estimates,.88 and.90, respectively. These reliability estimates were replicated in a subsequent study (N = 581). Test-retest correlation coefficients (N = 30) were.88 and.68 for the TBSI frequency and problem scales, respectively. A correlation coefficient of.55 was obtained between the TBSI frequency and problem scales. A strong correlational relationship was found between the TBSI frequency scale and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/2-3; Achenbach, Edelbrock, & Howell, 1987), especially at toddler ages 2 and 3. Additionally, male toddlers and 1 year olds evinced significantly higher perceived behavior problems than female toddlers or 2 and 3 year olds on the TBSI. On the TBSI problem scale, mothers at the lowest income level obtained significantly higher scores than mothers at other income levels. Initial factor analyses (Varimax) on the TBSI scales, which assumed uncorrelated factors, accounted for minimal variance. Thus, factor analyses utilizing oblique rotations Promax), which assumed correlated factors, were conducted. Again, minimal variance was accounted for on the TBSI scales. The TBSI, however, was analyzed qualitatively and a multidimensional factor structure resulted. The factors were labeled: Aggression, Exploratory Behavior, Insecure Attachment, Problems of Routine Care, Child Mood, Sleeping Problems, Defiant Behavior, Feeding Problems, and Voiding Problems. Overall, the results suggest that the TBSI is a psychometrically sound instrument.