Disruptive Behaviour Disorder Rating Scale (DBDRS)

The DBD parent/teacher rating scale is a screening tool designed to aid in the diagnostic process for a number of child psychopathologies, particularly externalising disorders. The DBD rating scale was initially created to further build upon an existing tool created by the same authors, the Swanston, Nolan and Pelham (SNAP) rating scale. The SNAP listed the DSM-III symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) in a rating scale format. The DSM-III-R brought changes to the diagnostic criteria for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and so the authors sought to create a new teacher rating scale to reflect these amendments that would be comparable to the original SNAP rating scale in its effectiveness for providing information required to aid in the diagnostic process. In addition, all three disruptive behaviour disorder categories were included in the new DBD rating scale.


The DBD rating scale consists of 42 items related to symptoms of Conduct disorder (16 items), ODD (8 items), ADHD-Inattention (9 items), ADHD- hyperactivity/ Impulsivity (9 items). These items relate directly to the 36 DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria for Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and are randomly ordered across diagnostic categories. Each item is rated on a four-point scale ranging from not at all (0) to very much (3). Teachers also have the option to check “don’t know” for any item. The DBD rating scale can be used to aid in diagnosis of children in regular classroom settings. There are two ways to determine if a child meets the criteria for DSM diagnoses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or Conduct Disorder. The first method involves counting symptoms for each disorder using the Disruptive Behaviour Disorders (DBD) rating scale. The second method involves comparing the target child’s factor scores on the DBD Rating Scale to established norms. The DBD rating scale has been translated and adapted for the assessment of childhood behavioural problems in Pakistani children. In addition the tool was translated into Georgian using back translation back-translation. The DBD rating scale was also used to generate normative values and percentile charts for Nigerian children.

Psychometric properties

A validation study used a sample of 931 boys that attended regular classrooms aged 5-14 years. Criterion and construct validity was found to be satisfactory. A factor analysis revealed three factors: one reflecting ODD and a number of CD symptoms, one comprised of ADHD impulsivity/overactivity symptoms and one on which ADHD symptoms of inattention loaded highly. Conditional probability analysis revealed several prominent symptoms of ADHD had poor predictive power; contrastively combinations of symptoms from the two ADHD factors had good predictive power. Combinations of ODD symptoms demonstrated very high predictive power.  Due to high teacher ratings of “don’t know”, conduct disorder was found to have lower predictive power. It is anticipated by the authors that the parent rating scale will have a higher predictive power on the CD symptoms. The study also noted that within the elementary school age range oppositional and certain CD symptoms demonstrated a high degree of covariation in the observations by teachers.

The DBD Rating Scale demonstrates good internal consistency for the DSM-III-R categories for Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with coefficient alphas of .81, .95 and .95 respectively.


The tool can be accessed from a number of reputable websites including Researchgate and The Center for School Mental Health website as provided- http://csmh.umaryland.edu/media/SOM/Microsites/CSMH/docs/Resources/ClinicianTools/Summary-of-Free-Assessment-Measures—And-Google-Doc-Link-to-Measures-Saved.pdf

The rating scale is available as a free download, permission is not required, and access is unrestricted.


Bzhalava, V., & Inasaridze, K. (2017). Disruptive Behavior Disorder (DBD) Rating Scale for Georgian Population. arXiv preprint arXiv:1702.03409.

Loona, M. I., & Kamal, A. (2011). Translation and adaptation of disruptive behaviour disorder rating scale. Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research26(2), 149.

Ofovwe, G. E., & Ofovwe, C. E. (2010). Disruptive Behaviour Disorder (DBD) Rating Scale for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Normative Values and Percentile Charts for Nigerian Children Aged 6 to 15 Years. Nigerian Hospital Practice6(1-2).

Pelham, W. E., Gnagy, E. M., Greenslade, K. E., & Milich, R. (1992). Teacher ratings of DSM-III-R symptoms for the disruptive behavior disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry31(2), 210-218.