Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The CBQ uses caregiver reports to provide a detailed profile of young children's temperament. The CBQ was designed to be used for research purposes.

Main constructs measured

Intrapersonal competencies; Interpersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Ages 3 to 7

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration

Parent or other caregiver

Method of administration


Number of items


Item format

Seven-point Likert-type scale

Administration time

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Available languages

Over 20 languages, including English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, German, and Hebrew

Fee for use Free and publicly available
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

No overall scores are reported.

Subscore reporting

15 subscores are reported:

  • Positive anticipation
  • High-intensity pleasure
  • Smiling/Laughter
  • Activity level
  • Impulsivity
  • Shyness
  • Discomfort
  • Fear
  • Anger/Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Soothability
  • Inhibitory control
  • Approach
  • Attentional focusing
  • Low-intensity pleasure
  • Perceptual sensitivity
Scoring procedures

Scoring information is available upon request from the developer.

Interpretive information

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

Evidence was collected from several different samples. For factor analysis, the sample included parents of children ages 4 to 7 from the northwestern and midwestern regions of the United States (N=857), as well as a sample of 3-year-olds from the same regions (N=149).

Samples of Chinese (N=468) and Japanese (N=372) students were used to test for cross-cultural measurement invariance.

Different samples were used for investigations of relationships with external variables and for reliability estimation (Rothbart et al., 2001).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency estimates ranged from 0.67 to 0.94 for all scales, with a mean internal consistency estimate of 0.77 across all 15 subscores. Inter-rater agreement estimates ranged from 0.28 to 0.71, with a mean agreement estimate of 0.51.

Test-retest reliability was estimated separately for mothers and fathers over a two-year period. For mothers, test-retest reliability ranged from 0.50 to 0.79 (mean of 0.65). For fathers, it ranged from 0.48 to 0.76 (mean of 0.63) (Rothbart et al., 2001).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Items were adapted from previously existing questionnaires, including the Infant Behavior Questionnaire (Rothbart, 1981) and the Physiological Reactions Questionnaire (Derryberry & Rothbart, 1988).
Evidence based on response processes
A small group of parents (N=15) completed questionnaires out loud, commenting on any items that were problematic and suggesting item revisions (Rothbart et al., 2001).
Evidence based on internal structure
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to substantiate the subscales. Models were fit separately by age (4-5 year-olds, 6-7 year-olds) to obtain evidence of configural invariance. Models were fit separately in Japanese and Chinese samples to obtain evidence for cross-cultural invariance (Rothbart et al., 2001).
Evidence based on relations with other variables
For a subset of the sample, mothers were administered the CBQ and other scales designed to assess aggressiveness, empathy, guilt/shame, help-seeking, and negativity. Regression was used to explore relationships between CBQ scales and these external measures. Relationships were significant and in the anticipated direction (Rothbart et al., 2001).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Derryberry, D., & Rothbart, M. K. , "Arousal, affect, and attention as components of temperament," Journal of personality and social psychology, Vol. 55, No. 6, 1988, pp. 958.

Rothbart, M. K., Ahadi, S. A., Hershey, K. L., & Fisher, P. , "Investigations of temperament at 3-7 years: The Children's Behavior Questionnaire," Child Development, Vol. 72, 2001, pp. 1394–1408.

Rothbart, M. K. , "Measurement of temperament in infancy," Child Development, 1981, pp. 569–578.


Individuals interested in using the instruments must complete an online request form.

Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.