Applications of uniform standardized assessment procedures to population samples of children in different societies make it possible to statistically compare problems reported in the different societies. L. A. Rescorla and colleagues from dozens of societies collaborated to compare CBCL/6-18 scores for 55,508 children in 31 societies, TRF scores for 30,957 students in 21 societies, and YSR scores for 27,206 youths in 24 societies.
The societies were in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, all parts of Europe, the Middle East, and North America.The very large samples and the great diversity of the populations enabled the researchers to test multicultural variations in problem scores with more statistical power and precision than in any previous studies.
Statistically significant differences between problem scale scores from different societies were of small to medium magnitude. Scale scores for most societies were near the “omnicultural mean” (the mean of scores from all societies). However, scores from a few societies were enough lower or enough higher than the omnicultural mean to warrant different sets of norms.
Consequently, data from societies with relatively low scores and data from societies with relatively high scores have been used to construct the different sets of norms that are included in the ADM computer-scoring Module for Ages 6-18 with Multicultural Options. Another important finding was that scores within each society varied much more than the mean scores varied between societies. In other words, the differences within societies were greater than the differences between societies.
The researchers also identified certain age and gender differences that were very consistent across societies according to certain informants but not others. For example, in most societies, parents and teachers rated boys higher than girls on the Attention Problems syndrome, but gender differences were negligible in self-ratings of Attention Problems.
To determine the degree to which people in different societies rated the same problems low, medium, and high, the researchers computed correlations between the mean ratings obtained on each item in each pair of societies. Averaged across all pairs of societies, the correlations were .74 for the CBCL and TRF and .69 for the YSR. This indicated considerable multicultural similarity in the items that were rated low, medium, and high.
References: Rescorla, L.A. et al. (2007). Consistency of teacher-reported problems for students in 21 countries. School Psychology Review, 36, 91-110.
Rescorla, L.A. et al. (2007). Epidemiological comparisons of problems and positive qualities reported by adolescents in 24 countries. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 351-358.
Rescorla, L.A. et al. (2007). Behavioral and emotional problems reported by parents of children ages 6 to 16 in 31 societies. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 15, 130-142.