A validation study of the Misbehaviors Questionnaire

Racheal Taki Reavy, University of Rhode Island


This study examined the validity of the Misbehaviors Questionnaire (MBQ), a revision of the Self Report Delinquency scale, which aims to diagnose conduct disorder (CD) and to serve as a valid measure for assessing misbehaviors. The MBQ further assesses whether each misbehavior involved the use of alcohol or marijuana, allowing for comparisons of substance-related clusters of misbehaviors. ^ Participants were 190 incarcerated adolescents (85.8% male; average age 17 years) at a juvenile correctional facility in the Northeast. While incarcerated, they were asked about substance use and misbehaviors in the three months prior to incarceration, as well as parental, peer, and demographic information. They were tracked at three-months post-release, given the MBQ, and assessed for post-release substance use. ^ CD severity (symptom count) was significantly associated with two peer factors: friend substance use and friend prior arrests, with medium to high effect sizes. Fewer parental influences were significant, with small to medium effect sizes. Age of CD onset was not strongly related to parental factors, but earlier onset was associated with earlier marijuana use. Evidence supporting the utility of the MBQ as a measure of CD diagnosis, including limited concurrent validity, was obtained, moreso for alcohol than for marijuana use. ^ Three new scales of the MBQ designed to assess general, alcohol-involved, and marijuana-involved misbehaviors were empirically derived using Principal Components Analyses. Support was found for concurrent and predictive incremental validities of these scales in predicting substance use, with stronger findings for the general and the alcohol-involved scales. Scales related to stealing showed lower validity than those related to more aggressive behaviors. ^ These analyses suggest that empirically derived scales can offer researchers and clinicians a new psychometrically sound approach to assessing adolescent misbehaviors. The MBQ is a flexible instrument that generally maintains SRD constructs and scales and provides diagnostic information regarding CD and ASPD. Furthermore, the MBQ provides empirically derived general, alcohol-, and marijuana-related scales which extend research and clinical utility. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Psychometrics

Recommended Citation

Racheal Taki Reavy, "A validation study of the Misbehaviors Questionnaire" (2009). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3378090.