Dimensionality, Hierarchical Structure, Age Generalizability, and Criterion Validity of the GAIN's Behavioral Complexity Scale

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Abstract

This study used Rasch measurement model criteria and traditional psychometric strategies to examine key psychometric properties of the Behavioral Complexity Scale (BCS), a widely used measure of externalizing disorders that focuses on attention deficit, hyperactivity, and conduct disorders. With a sample of 7,435 persons being screened for substance use disorders, the BCS was found to (a) be unidimensional, (b) have a hierarchical severity structure, (c) be generalizable to both youths and adults, and (d) meet hypothesized correlations with criterion variables. The BCS performed well as a unidimensional measure. The Rasch severity hierarchy of attention deficit to hyperactivity to conduct disorders provided a perspective that suggested that a dimensional measure could be used as an alternative and, in some ways, as an improvement to categorical diagnosis and common dimensional approaches. The finding of 3 low-severity conduct disorder items also supported a revision of categorical criteria, especially in substance use disorders.

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