Child and Adolescent Disruptive Behaviour Inventory (CADBI)

The Child and Adolescent Disruptive Behaviour Inventory (CADBI), Burns, et al., (2001a) is a 25-item parent and teacher questionnaire designed to assess a range of problem behaviours that often occur in childhood and adolescence. The CADBI has being used in research on disruptive behaviours in children. The CADBI was created by Julie Rusby from the University of Washington State. Dr. Leonard Burns, also from the University of Washington State, has collected CADBI data in various studies in the United States, as well as several other countries.

There is no age range specified for this measure, therefore clinical judgement would need to be used when deciding if this instrument is appropriate to use with your clients. However, the CADBI has been tested in multiple validation studies with children and adolescence aged 3 to 18. The CADBI can be used as a screening and diagnostic tool. The CADBI consists of three subscales that assess oppositional defiant behaviour, inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Sample items from the oppositional defiant behaviour subscales include: “Annoys peers on purpose,” “Loses temper or gets angry with adults when doesn’t get own way” and “refuses to obey adult’s requests or rules.” The wording of the items is the same as the description of the symptoms in the DSM-IV with one exception, the term “often” was not included in the description (Burns, et al., 2001). Each item is rated on an 8-point Likert scale from one (“Never in the past month”) to eight (“10 or more times per day”). This measure can be administered in approximately ten minutes.

Several studies provide support for the reliability and validity of the CADBI as a measure of disruptive behavior (Burns, & Walsh, 2002). Teacher ratings on the oppositional defiant behaviour, inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity dimensions predicted observer ratings of the same dimension in a classroom, demonstrating the predictive validity of the CADBI (correlation coefficient r = .64-.69).  The same researchers also found test-retest values for the subscales at 3-month interval; (correlation coefficient r = .86-.94) (Burns, & Walsh, 2002).  The scale has demonstrated high levels of internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = .91-.97), and structural validity (Burns, & Walsh, 2002).  According to Gomez et al., (2005), the scale was validated on 1475 Australian children Mean Age=8.28 using the DSM-IV AD/HD Rating Scale.

This measure assesses all of the specific diagnostic criteria for Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder and Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. The close mapping of items against the diagnostic criteria in the DSM IV is an advantage of this measure over others, such as, the Child Behaviour Checklist.  Although, the scale does not provide enough information to make diagnoses (Burns, et al., 2001a).

Many instruments that measure disruptive behaviour in children and adolescents face the issue of being too long, while others are under copy write and too costly. This can be discouraging to parents (Burns, et al., 2001a). The creators of the CADBI sought to create a free and valid instrument that has a moderate number of items to help facilitate the cooperation of parents. The CADBI is freely available from many websites including the ‘Center on Early Adolescence’


Burns, GL., Taylor, TK., & Rusby, J. C. (2001a) Child and Adolescent Disruptive Behavior Inventory 2.3: Parent Version. Pullman: Washington State University, Department of Psychology

Burns, G. L., & Walsh, J. A. (2002). The Influence of ADHD-Hyperactivity/Impulsivity Symptoms on the Development of Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms in a 2-year Longitudinal Study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 245-256.

Burns, G. L., Boe, B., Walsh, J. A., Sommers-Flanagan, R., & Teegarden, L. A. (2001). A Confirmatory Factory Analysis on the DSM-IV ADHD and ODD Symptoms: What is the Best Model for th Organization of These Symptoms? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 29, 339-349.

Gomez, R., Burns, G., Walsh, L., & Hafetz, J. (2005). A Multitrait–Multisource Confirmatory Factor Analytic Approach to the Construct Validity of ADHD and ODD Rating Scales with Malaysian Children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(2), 241-254.