Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)

Issue the Child Behavior Checklist to parents who are consulting you about possible behavioral and emotional problems in their child in order to determine if they do or do not!

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What is the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)?

The Child Behavior Checklist is a useful report form made by Thomas M. Achenbach. It’s also a component of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA).

ASEBA is used to assess children in order to determine if they have behavioral and emotional problems. The Child Behavior Checklist is a component that is filled up by parents to check if their child (aged 6-18) has behavioral and emotional problems.

Printable Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)

Download this Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and evaluate your child client’s emotional and behavioral health.

How to use the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)

Achenbach’s Child Behavior Checklist is quite easy to use! On the part of the psychologist/health practitioner, they just need to issue this to the parent(s) or guardian(s) reporting on their child about potential behavioral and emotional problems.

On the part of the parents/guardians, they simply need to do the following:

Step 1: Provide general information.

General information refers to the name of the child, their gender, age, birthday, school, etc. The person filling up the form will also indicate the job (or, the usual jobs) that the child’s parents/guardians have.

Step 2: List and rate things about the child related to school, chores, and relationships.

After the general information section of the checklist, the next part is about what the child likes, what and how they do in school, a little bit about home, and their relationships with people, especially within their age group.

The parent/guardian will list down things like the child’s favorite hobbies, the sports they like doing, the chores they usually do at home or if they have jobs, etc. They will also rate these by thinking about how the child does when compared to others.

Some segments ask the parent/guardian to describe the child by answering guide questions concerning if their child has any illnesses or disabilities, what the parents’ concerns for the child are, and the child’s best qualities.

Step 3: Rate 113 items on a long list!

The last part of this checklist is a long list of 113 items for the parents/guardians to rate. Some of these items need to be filled with answers, too.

It has items like the following:

  • Can’t get mind off certain thoughts/obsessions: [describe]
  • Bragging/boasting
  • Complains of loneliness

The parent/guardian completing this assessment rates each item with one of the following:

  • 0 = Not true (as far as you know)
  • 1 = Somewhat or sometimes true
  • 2 = Very true or often true

Step 4: The psychologist will score and determine what to do.

The scoring will not be done on the checklist itself. Once the parent/guardian submits a fully-accomplished checklist, the psychologist will interpret the answers using ASEBA’s scoring materials. The results will come in the form of scale measurements.

There are also two types of scales.

The first type is called “Empirically based syndrome scales” and includes the following:

  • Anxious/Depressed
  • Withdrawn/Depressed
  • Somatic Complaints
  • Social Problems
  • Thought Problems
  • Attention Problems
  • Rule Breaking Behavior
  • Aggressive Behavior

The second type is called “DSM-oriented scales” and includes:

  • Depressive Problems
  • Anxiety Problems
  • Somatic Problems
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems
  • Oppositional Defiant Problems
  • Conduct Problems

The results you get using ASEBA’s scoring tools should help you create a plan to be discussed with the child’s parents/guardians.

Child Behavior Checklist Example (Sample)

Below is a filled-out Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) sample. Please note this was edited in order to show what a fully-accomplished Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) looks like. This particular assessment is meant to be printed, and there is no fillable digital version available.

Download this Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Example (Sample) here:

Child Behavior Checklist Example (Sample)

When would you typically use the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)?

The Child Behavior Checklist is normally issued when the parent/guardian of a child sets up an appointment with you because they suspect that their child might have behavioral and/or emotional problems.

During your appointment, you should issue this so they can answer it. It normally takes 15-20 minutes to complete! Of course, the parent/guardian can choose to take home the checklist if they feel the need to think long and hard about their answers and ratings.

Who can use this printable Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)?

The following healthcare practitioners can use the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for their respective practices:

  • (Clinical) psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychometricians
  • (Mental health) therapists
  • Counselors

Why is this checklist popular and useful for psychologists?

It’s easy to use!

The checklist is easy to accomplish since most of what the parent/guardian will do is list things down, rate, and sometimes describe things.

It’s comprehensive!

The checklist asks the parent/guardian to take a look at different aspects of their child’s life, like school, hobbies, relationships, personality, and even attitudes. This will give the practitioner a good picture of a child and will be tackling this through the different scales of ASEBA during the scoring stage.

It’s available in over 50 languages!

Not only is the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) easy to use and comprehensive, but it’s also available in over 50 languages. Health practitioners from all over the world can access and use this component of ASEBA for their practice!

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Commonly asked questions

When is the best time to use the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)?

As soon as parents/guardians meet up with your about suspected behavioral and emotional problems in their child, please issue the Child Behavior Checklist to them immediately. They can answer on the spot. It only takes 15-20 minutes to complete. Or, they can take it home if they wish to think more about their answers.

Is this checklist really only designed for print?

Yes. Earlier in this guide, we presented a filled-up version of this just to show you what a fully-accomplished Child Behavior Checklist looks like. It is meant to be printed and answered on paper.

How do I go about scoring the answers on a fully-accomplished sheet?

Once you receive a fully-accomplished sheet from a parent/guardian and you’re looking to interpret the information, you may refer to ASEBA for the scoring materials. They have the materials needed for you to make the best interpretations of your findings.

What are the benefits of using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)?

Parents/Guardians will be able to reflect on their child.

Just because they have suspicions of their child having behavioral and emotional problems doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve taken the time to reflect on the different aspects of their child.

The Child Behavior Checklist asks the parent/guardian to really think about their child in terms of how they’re doing in school, what they are like around other children, what they love doing, what sports they like, how they fare in doing things compared to others, how they respond to certain things, and what their disposition is.

They will only be able to truly answer the checklist if they stop and think about their child.

Psychologists and adjacent practitioners will be able to develop a plan.

Because it’s comprehensive, psychologists can take the answers from fully-accomplished checklists and make use of ASEBA’s scoring tools to interpret the findings. They’ll be able to look at things from different angles, like depression, anxiety, attention problems, social problems, and more!

With comprehensive findings, they can develop a plan for the parents/guardians and their child that covers different aspects of the child’s life in order to prevent suspected behavioral and emotional problems from becoming worse, and hopefully work to make things better and ensure the child is well-adjusted, confident, and more.

Why use Carepatron for psychology software?

Here at Carepatron, we care about helping healthcare practitioners improve productivity and efficiency, especially when it comes to streamlining their clinical documentation. By taking advantage of our easy-to-navigate EHR system, you’ll gain access to a wide variety of guides concerning psychotherapy and counseling such as this one for ASEBA’s Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)!

Using our guides will help you with your understanding of particular tools and make it easier for you to use them for your practice!

You can even scan a fully-accomplished Child Behavior Checklist and store them in a HIPAA-compliant manner via our platform, as well as secure it by setting up who can access it besides you. This also makes it easily accessible anytime, anywhere, whether you’re using an office desktop, a laptop, or even just a phone!

Convenience. Accessibility. Security. You get all three with Carepatron.

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When is the best time to use the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)?
When is the best time to use the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)?
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