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Validity and Reliability Study of the Chinese Traditional Version of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Toddlers DECA T

Authors Liang SHY, Chou JY, Wu YY, Lee CP, Kelsen BA, Lee YC

Received 10 June 2019

Accepted for publication 15 November 2019

Published 5 December 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 3375—3385

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S218943

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Nicola Ludin

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Jun Chen


Sophie Hsin-Yi Liang,1 Jen-Yu Chou,2 Yu-Yu Wu,3 Chin-Pang Lee,4 Brent Allan Kelsen,5 Yi-Chen Lee6

1Section of Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Taoyuan and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 2Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan; 3Section of Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taiwan, YuNing Psychiatric Clinic, Taipei, Taiwan; 4Department of Psychiatry, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 5Language Center, National Taipei University, New Taipei City, Taiwan, Department of Psychology, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand; 6Department of Psychiatry, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital at Chiayi and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Chiayi, Taiwan

Correspondence: Yi-Chen Lee
School of Occupational Therapy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Email peggylee599@gmail.com

Background: The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Toddlers (DECA-T), which is one of the few standardized, norm-referenced behavioral rating scales related to young children’s mental health, resilience, and social-emotional development, was developed for toddlers aged between 18 and 36 months.
Objective: The aim of this study was to test the clinimetric properties of the Chinese (Traditional) version of the DECA-T (C-DECA-T) using a classical test theory analysis and an item response theory analysis.
Methods: Seventy-five community-based toddlers aged from 18 to 36 months and 50 clinic-based participants recruited in hospitals in northern Taiwan participated in this study. Social-emotional competence was assessed by the C-DECA-T and children’s behavior problems were rated via the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5 to 5 (CBCL/1.5–5). Homogeneity of the C-DECA-T was assessed by Mokken analysis; sensitivity and specificity were assessed via receiver operating characteristic curve.
Results: The results showed the C-DECA-T demonstrated good test–retest reliability (r=0.8) and high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.94). Inter-rater reliability between father and mother was fair (ICC = 0.46). Convergent validity of the CBCL/1.5–5 total behavior problems (r=−0.26) demonstrated acceptable psychometric performance. The overall measure of the sampling adequacy of the C-DECA-T assessed by principal component analysis was 0.93. Mokken scale analysis showed the 36-items of the C- DECA-T formed a weak unidimensional scale (Hs=0.35), supporting its construct validity. The area under curve of the C-DECA-T in prediction of social-emotional disturbance was 0.70. The optimal cutoff of the Total Protective Factor score of the C-DECA-T was a T score of 40.1 (T40.1), with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 68%. Item 2 (“show affection for a familiar adult”) and item 33 (“calm herself/himself”) provide a good amount of information for the assessment of social-emotional strength and needs of a toddler in clinical practice.
Conclusion: The C-DECA-T showed good psychometric properties. Our findings of high internal consistency of the three subscales and total score of the C-DECA-T suggest symptom manifestation of social-emotional competence and needs in Taiwanese toddlers is not culturally different from American toddlers. The clinimetric properties of the C-DECA-T examined by a classical test theory analysis approach and an item response theory analysis approach suggest that the C-DECA-T is a reliable and valid instrument for measuring social-emotional strength and needs in the population in Taiwan.

Keywords: Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Toddlers, DECA-T, social-emotional competence, item response theory, Mokken scale analysis, principal component analysis

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