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ECBI - Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory

This parent-rating scale is used to assess both the frequency of child disruptive behaviors and the extent to which the parent finds the child’s behavior troublesome. It has been widely used in treatment outcome studies for disruptive disorders. It can be used in combination with the SESBI-R, a teacher-report version. It is not a diagnostic tool.




Eyberg, Sheila, Ph.D.

Eyberg, S., & Pincus, D. (1999). Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory & Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory-Revised: Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Contact Information: 
Cost Involved
Domain Assessed: 
Anxiety/Mood (Internalizing Symptoms)
Age Range: 
Measure Type: 
Measure Format: 


Number of Items: 
Average Time to Complete (min): 
Reporter Type: 
Average Time to Score (min): 
Response Format: 

Problem Scale: Yes/No questions
Intensity Scale: 7-point Likert scale (1=Never to 7=Always)

Materials Needed: 
Sample Items: 
DomainsScaleSample Items
Externalizing Symptoms (child)Problem scaleItem (Is this a problem for you?) (Yes/No)
Intensity scaleItem (1=Never to 7=Always)
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Clinician Friendly Output
Continuous Assessment
Diagnostic Info DSM IV
Raw Scores
Standard Scores


Training to Administer: 
Training to Interpret: 
Prior Experience in Psych Testing/Interpretation

Parallel or Alternate Forms

Parallel Forms: 
Alternate Forms: 
Different Age Forms: 
Altered Version Forms: 
Alternative Forms Description: 

Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory-Revised (SESBI-R): A teacher-report version of this measure, also reviewed in the database.


Clinical Populations
Age Groups
Notes on Psychometric Norms: 

The ECBI was originally standardized on parents of preadolescent children in 1980. It was standardized on parents of adolescents in 1983. Primarily,
these children were from lower- and lower-middle SES White families recruited from a pediatric outpatient clinic located in a large urban medical
school in the Northwest U.S. (Eyberg & Robinson, 1983; Robinson, Eyberg, & Ross, 1980).

The ECBI was later standardized by independent investigators on two additional samples in the Northwest.

1. Burns & Patterson (1990) reported norms from 1003 children in grades 1-12 recruited through mailings to parents in the Seattle School District (30% return rate).

Sample characteristics were as follows: 52% male, 48% female

Ethnicity: 7% Asian, 8% Black, 78% White, 7% mixed ethnicity

Education: 5% less than high school, 25% high school, 23% some college, 25% college degree, and 22% some graduate work

Income: 21% (0-$19,000), 19% ($20,000-$29,000), and 61% (< $30,000)

They reported significant age effects on the intensity and problem score but no meaningful and significant gender effects. In this sample, 7.9% of
children scored in the clinical range.

2. Burns, Patterson, Nussbaum, & Parker (1991) provide norms for 1,526 children aged 2 to 7 (M=7.08, SD=3.90) recruited from 5 pediatric clinics.
Sample characteristics were as follows: 53% Male, 47% Female; 90% White, 4% Native American, 2% Black, <1% Asian, <1% Hispanic, and 3%
Mixed Ethnicity.

Average education of reporters was 13.36 grades (SD=2.51).

Income: 18% (< $10,000), 17% ($10,000-$19,000). 25% ($20,000-$29,999), 40% (> $30,000)

They reported significant effects for child gender for both Frequency and Problem scores with boys rating higher than girls; however, they noted that
the difference accounted for <1% of the variance.

They also found significant age effects for Frequency and Problem scales, with children 2-5 having higher Frequency scores than the other 3 age
groups, and children 6-9 scoring higher than older age groups. In this nonclinical sample, 10.4% of children scored in the clinical range on the

Note: Norms provided by Burns and colleagues are provided by gender and age (2-5, 6-9, 10-13, 14-17). ECBI norms, specifically those collected by
Burns & Patterson (1990) and Burns et al. (1991) have been critiqued by Achenbach (2001) as not being representative of the populations generally
studied. In addition, given the response rates, it is questionable as to whether the norms are representative. Colvin et al. (1999a) critiqued the
Burns norms stating that the Burns et al. (1991) sample was unbalanced, given that nearly half the children were aged 2-5, and the Burns et al. (1991) sample included 17-year-olds, which is outside the ECBI age range. In addition, both samples had exclusions that would affect the base rate of behavior problems including exclusion of those with a history of treatment for learning disabilities or behavior problems.

The ECBI was restandardized in 1999 on parents from six outpatient pediatric clinics in the Southeast U.S. (Colvin, Eyberg, & Adams, 1999a).

1. This sample consisted of 798 children, aged 2 to 16, with each of the 15 age groups equally represented. The sample was 52% male and 48%
female. The sample consisted of 74% Caucasian, 19% African-American, 3% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 1% Native American, and 2% of Other or Mixed

Children resided with both natural parents (53%), with their mother and stepfather (14%), with their father and stepmother (1%), with their mothers only (26%), with their fathers only (1%), and with foster parents or other relatives (5%).

SES: 21% low, 25% middle-low, 22% middle, 22% middle-high, 10% high; 61% lived in an urban county and 39% lived in a rural county. Norms are
presented by gender and age (separately by each year 2-16).

Clinical Cutoffs: 
Clinical Cutoffs Description: 

Raw score: Intensity and problem scales (cutoffs=60T, 93rd percentile)

Test-Retest-# days: 300Acceptable0.750.750.75
Internal ConsistencyAcceptableCronbach's alpha0.930.950.94
Inter-raterAcceptablePearson's r0.610.790.74
Parallel/Alternate Formsunknown
References for Reliability: 

Funderburk, Eyberg, Rich, & Behar (2003) reported 10-month test-retest stability with a sample of 88 predominantly Caucasian middle- to upper-middle-class families: Intensity (32)=.75, p<.0001; Problem )r=.75, p<.0001).

Cronbach’s alpha avg: .94 (I), .93 (P)

Scores above are for pairs of mothers and fathers as cited in the manual.

Eisenstadt, McElreath, Eyberg, & McNeil (1994) reported correlations between maternal and paternal reports for intensity (r=.69) and problems (r=.61).

Although they were not studying interrater reliability, Calzada, Eyberg, Rich, & Querido (2004) report on correlations between maternal and paternal ECBI scores. Intensity scores were significantly correlated, r=.64. The correlation for problem scores was r=.40, which was not significant, given a Bonferroni correction.

References for Content Validity: 

Items are face valid.

Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to ChangeYes
Intervention EffectsYesYesYes
Longitudinal/Maturation EffectsYes
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct GroupsYesYesYes
Factorial ValidityYes
References for Construct Validity: 

ECBI scores have been found to correlate with CBCL externalizing scales (Boggs et al., 1990). Consistent with the literature, ECBI scores also correlate with indicators of marital functioning, parenting stress, parenting behaviors, and maternal history (Bearss & Eyberg, 1998; Benzies, Harrison, & Magill-Evans, 1998; Bor & Sanders, 2004; Eyberg, Boggs, & Rodriguez, 1992; Webster-Stratton, 1988). They have also been found to correlate with scores on the Children’s Perceptual Alteration Scale (Evers-Szostak & Sanders, 1992). Correlations with the SESBI, the teacher-report form of the ECBI, have been inconsistent. Funderburk et al., 2003 found no significant correlations between ECBI and SESBI scores.

McNeil et al. (1991) also found no significant ECBI and SESBI correlations, but pre- to post-treatment change scores were highly correlated, suggesting that while parents and teachers have different perspectives on relative standing of behavior problems, both recognize change and agree on magnitude of change. ECBI scores differentiate between clinic and non-clinic children and adolescents (Eyberg & Robinson, 1983; McNeil et al., 1991), children with different diagnostic classifications (Ross et al., 1998), abusive and community parents (Bradley & Peters, 1991), and between children with autism and behavior disorders and a normative sample (Dumas, Wolf, Fisman, & Culligan, 1991).

The measure has been shown to be sensitive to treatment effects at posttest and follow-up for multiple treatment for disruptive disorders including Parent- Child Interaction Therapy (Eisenstadt, Eyberg, McNeil, Newcomb, & Funderburk, 1993; Nixon, Sweeney, Erichson, & Touyz, 2003) and the Partners Parent Training Groups (Webster-Stratton, 1998). ECBI clinical cutoffs have provided evidence for the clinical significance of treatment effects. Change in ECBI scores as a result of treatment are related to scores on the Therapy Attitude Inventory, a consumer satisfaction measure (Brestan, Jacobs, Rayfield, & Eyberg, 1999).

A number of studies have examined the factor structure of the ECBI, but results have not been consistent, and there are data suggesting that the ECBI might best be viewed as measuring 3 factors. Burns and Patterson (2000) conducted an exploratory factor analysis of 1,263 children and adolescents and identified 3 meaningful factors and a fourth poorly defined factor.

Confirmatory factor analysis with a second sample of 1,264 children and adolescents revealed that best model was the 3-factor model: 1) Oppositional Defiant Behavior Toward Adults, 2) Inattentive Behavior, and 3) Conduct Problem Behavior. Gross et al. (2003) used these factors and reported alpha reliabilities of .79, .73, and .72.

Colvin et al. (1999a) conducted principal components analysis and reported results were not suggestive of multiple factors.

1. The ECBI has been found to detect change over treatment in a sample of 15 girls aged 9-12 who had experienced sexual abuse (McGain & McKinzey, 1995).

2. Zahr (1996) used the ECBI in a study of the impact of heavy shelling on 100 preschool Lebanese children aged 3-6. Children who lived in heavy shelling areas had higher ECBI scores than those not exposed to shelling.

3. Bradley & Peters (1991) found that abusive and clinically involved parents identify more problem behaviors using the ECBI than do community parents.

4. Belter, Dunn, & Jeney (1991) found indications of distress using the ECBI in a sample of children aged 3-5 living in an area hit by Hurricane Hugo.

1. The ECBI has been used in multiple studies with low-income African American families. Bendell, Stone, Field, & Goldstein (1989) found ECBI scores
correlated with the PSI. Dawkins, Fullilove, & Dawkins (1995) administered the ECBI to 99 mothers of African American inner-city children aged 3-4. Scores were lower than scores for the treatment sample reported in Eyberg & Ross (1978) but higher than was reported for children with no history of behavior problems. Capage, Bennett, & McNeil (2001) found no difference between African American and Caucasian families in terms of ECBI scores before and after treatment.

2. The ECBI has been used in a sample of 91 Hong Kong Chinese children aged 3-7. For all time periods (pre- and post-intervention) internal consistency was > .88. The ECBI was sensitive to treatment effects in this sample (Leung, Sanders, Leung, Mak, & Lau (2003).

3. Brubaker & Szakowski (2000) used the ECBI with a sample of deaf children (n=39) and found a positive relationship between inconsistent parental discipline practices and ECBI scores.

4. The ECBI has been used with children with learning disabilities (e.g., Eyberg & Pincus, 1999).

5. The ECBI has been used in a number of studies involving children with developmental disabilities with results providing evidence of validity and
reliability. Populations include children with autism, Down Syndrome, developmental delays, Asperger Syndrome (Sofronoff, Leslie, & Brown, 2004),
and cerebral palsy (Dumas et al., 1991; Glenwick, 1998).

Criterion Validity: 
Not KnownNot FoundNonclinical SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Predictive Validity:Yes
Postdictive Validity: Yes
Sensitivity Rate Score: 
Specificity Rate Score: 
Positive Predictive Power: 
Negative Predictive Power: 
Overall Psychometric Limitations: 

No studies to date have shown the criterion validity for this measure. Otherwise the measure seems psychometrically sound and has been well studied in diverse populations, including individuals of lower SES.


Translation Quality: 
Language:TranslatedBack TranslatedReliableGood PsychometricsNorms AvailableSimilar Factor StructureMeasure Developed for this Group
1. Spanish YesYesYesYes
2. LebaneseYesYesYes
3. ChineseYes
4. GermanYes
5. JapaneseYes
6. KoreanYes
7. NorwegianYes
8. RussianYes
9. SwedishYes

Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

According to the ECBI Manual (p. 9): The ECBI was first standardized between 1980 and 1983 on parents of children from a pediatric clinic of a large medical school in the Northwestern United States. Primarily the children were from lower- to lower-middle income Caucasian families. It was restandardized in 1999 with a sample that represented the general child population in the Southeastern United States. There were 798 children
between ages 2 and 16.

1. Gender: 52% Male, 48% Female
2. Ethnicity: 75% Caucasian, 19% African American, 3% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 1% Native American, and 2% Mixed Ethnicity
3. SES (According to Hollingshead (1975): 12% Lowest SES, 25% GROUP II, 22% GROUP III, 22% GROUP IV, and 10% Highest SES
4. Region: 61% Urban, 39% Rural

Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Medical Trauma
Natural Disaster
Use with Diverse Populations: 
Population Type: Measure Used with Members of this GroupMembers of this Group Studied in Peer-Reviewed JournalsReliableGood PsychometricsNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for this Group
1. Developmental disabilityYesYesYesYesYes
2. Disabilities
3. Lower socio-economic statusYesYesYesYesYes
4. Rural populationsYes
5. Chronically ill childrenYesYes
6. Children with EnuresisYes

Pros & Cons/References


1. This is a well-tested, widely used measure that has been shown to detect change in behavior due to treatment.

2. Good psychometrics.

3. Brief and easy to administer and score. It has only 36 items. Other measures are more than double the length.

4. Intensity and problem scores allow for assessment of rater’s perceptions regarding the degree to which the behavior presents a problem.

5. Normative data and clinical cutoffs are available.

6. A Spanish version is available.

7. There is a comparable teacher report version, which allows for assessment of disruptive behaviors across settings by parents and teachers.


1. Answers are largely subjective.

2. Normative data may not be representative of the populations measured; only a small percentage of the families solicited in the Burns et al. (1991; 2001) studies responded to the study. In addition, norms are not ethnically diverse.

3. The Spanish version has not yet been found reliable across Hispanic cultures.

4. The ECBI as it currently stands may not be as well defined as it would be if it were based on a 3-factor model as opposed to a 2-factor model. Burns and Patterson (2000) have identified 3 factors that the ECBI measures: Oppositional Defiant Behavior Toward Adults, Inattentive Behavior, and Conduct Problem Behavior.

5. The ECBI was developed primarily as a measure of disruptive behavior and does not assess PTSD symptomatology or anxiety-related symptoms commonly seen in children exposed to trauma. Given this, the ECBI should probably be used in conjunction with another measure of symptomatology when assessing children exposed to trauma.

6. Although the measure can be used for children as young as 2, many of the items do not apply to younger children.

7. Although the measure can be used for children as old as 16, it does not contain items that would be more applicable to disruptive behaviors in the older age range.


The reference for the manual is:
Eyberg, S., & Pincus, D. (1999). Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory & Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory-Revised: Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

A PsychInfo search (6/05) for “Eyberg Child Behavior Checklist” or “ECBI" anywhere revealed that the measure has been referenced in 94 peer-reviewed journal articles. Below is a sampling of some of those articles:

Achenbach, T.M. (2001). What are norms and why do we need valid ones? Clinical Psychology Science and Practice, 8, 446-450.

Bearss, K.E., & Eyberg, S. (1998). A test of the parenting alliance theory. Early Education and Development, 9(2), 179-185.

Belter, R.W., Dunn, S.E., & Jeney, P. (1991). The psychological impact of Hurricane Hugo on children: A needs assessment. Advances in Behavioour Research and Therapy, 13(3), 155-161.

Bendell, R.S., Stone, W.L., Field, T.M., & Goldstein, S. (1989). Children’s effects on parenting stress in a low income, minority population. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 8(4), 58-71.

Benzies, K.M., Harrison, M.J., & Magill-Evans, J. (1998). Impact of marital quality and parent-child interaction on preschool behavior problems. Public Health Nursing, 15(1), 35-43.

Boggs, S.R., Eyberg, S., & Reynolds, L.A. (1990). Concurrent validity of the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19(1), 75-78.

Bor, W., & Sanders, M.R. (2004). Correlates of self-reported coercive parenting of preschool-aged children at high risk for the development of conduct problems. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38, 738-745.

Bradley, E.J., Peters, R.D. (1991). Physically abusive and nonabusive mothers’ perceptions of parenting and child behavior. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 61(3), 455-460.

Brestan, E.V., Jacobs, J.R., Rayfield, A.D., & Eyberg, S.M. (1999). A consumer satisfaction measure for parent-child treatments and its relation to measures of child behavior change. Behavior Therapy, 30(1), 17-30.

Brubaker, R.G., & Szakowski, A. (2000). Parenting practices and behavior problems among deaf children. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 22(4), 13-28.

Burns, G.L., & Patterson, D.R. (2001). Normative data on the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory and Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory: Parent and teacher rating scales of disruptive behavior problems in children and adolescents. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 23(1), 15-28.

Burns, G.L., & Patterson, D.R. (2000). Factors structure of the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory: A parent rating scale of oppositional defiant behavior toward adults, inattentive behavior, and conduct problems. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29(4), 569-577.

Burns, G.L., Patterson, D.L., Nussbaum, B.R., & Parker, C.M. (1991). Disruptive behaviors in an outpatient pediatric population: Additional standardization data on the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory. Psychological Assessment, 3(2), 202-207.

Calzada, E.J., Eyberg, S.M., Rich, B., & Querido, J.G. (2004). Parenting disruptive preschoolers: Experiences of mothers and fathers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32(2), 203-213.

Capage, L.C., Bennett, G.M., & McNeil, C.B. (2001). A comparison between African American and Caucasian children referred for treatment of disruptive behavior disorders. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 23(1), 1-14.

Colvin, A., Eyberg, S., & Adams, C. (1999a). Restandardization of the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory. Available on-line at

Dawkins, M.P., Fullilove, C., & Dawkins, M. (1995). Early assessment of problem behavior among children in high-risk environments. Family Therapy, 22(3), 133-141.

Dumas, J.E., Wolf, L.C., Fisman, S.N., & Culligan, A. (1991). Parenting stress, child behavior problems, and dysphoria in parents of children with autism, Down syndrome, behavior disorders, and normal development. Exceptionality, 2(2), 97-110.

Eisenstadt, T.H., Eyberg, S., McNeil, C.B., Newcomb, K., & Funderburk, B. (1993). Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with behavior problem children: Relative effectiveness of two states and overall treatment outcome. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 22, 42-51.

Eisenstadt, T.H., McElreath, L.S., Eyberg, S.M., & McNeil, C.B. (1994). Interparent agreement on the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 16, 21-28.

Evers-Szostak, M., & Sanders, S. (1992). The children’s perceptual alteration scale (CPAS): A measure of children’s dissociation. Dissociation: Progress in the Dissociative Disorders, 5(2), 91-97.

Eyberg, S.M., Boggs, S.R., & Rodriguez, C.M. (1992). Relationships between maternal parenting stress and child disruptive behavior. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 14(4), 1-9.

Eyberg, S.M., & Robinson, E.A. (1983). Conduct problem behavior: Standardization of a behavioral rating scale with adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 12(3), 347-354.

Eyberg, S.M. & Ross, A.W. (1978). Assessment of child behavior problems: The validation of a new inventory. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 7(2), 113-116.

Funderburk, B.W., Eyberg, S.M., Rich, B.A., & Behar, L. (2003). Further psychometric evaluation of the Eyberg and Behar rating scales for parents and teachers of preschoolers. Early Education and Development, 14, 67-81.

Garcia-Tornel, S., Calzada, E. J., Eyberg, S. M., Alguacil, J.M., Serra, C.V., Mendoza, C.B., et al. (1998). Inventario Eyberg del Comportamiento en Ninos: Normalizacion de la version espanola y su utilidad para el pediatra extrahospitalario [Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory: Standardization of the Spanish version and validity with pediatric outpatients in Spain]. Anales Espanoles de Pediatria, 48, 475-482.

Garcia-Tornel, S., Eyberg, S.M., Calzada, E J., & Sainz, E. (1998). Trastornos del comportamiento en el nino: Utilidad del Inventario Eyberg en la practica diaria del pediatra [Behavior problems in children: Validity of the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory in common pediatric settings in Spain]. Pediatria Integral, 3, 348-354.

Glenwick, D.S. (1998). Stress, coping, and perceptions of child behavior in parents of preschoolers with cerebral palsy. Rehabilitation Psychology, 43(4), 297-312.

Gross, D., Fogg, L., Webster-Stratton, C., Garvey, C., Wrenetha, J., & Grady, J. (2003). Parent training of toddlers in day care in low-income urban communities. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 261-278.

Leung, C., Sanders, M.R., Leung, S., Mak, R., & Lau, J. (2003). An outcome evaluation of the implementation of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program in Hong Kong. Family Process, 42(4), 531-544.

McGain, B., & McKinzey, R.K. (1995). The efficacy of group treatment in sexually abused girls. Child Abuse and Neglect, 19(9), 1157-1169.

McNeil, C.B., Eyberg, S., Eisenstadt, T.H., Newcomb, K. et al. (1991). Parent-child interaction therapy with behavior problem children: Generalization of treatment effects to the school setting. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 20(3), 140-151.

Nixon, R.D., Sweeney, L., Erickson, D.B., & Touyz, S.W. (2003). Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: A comparison of standard and abbreviated treatments. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 251-260.

Rich, B.A., & Eyberg, S.M. (2001). Accuracy of assessment: The discriminative and predictive power of the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory. Ambulatory Child Health, 7, 249-257.

Ross, C.N., Blanc, H.M., McNeil, C.B., Eyberg, S.M., & Hembree-Kigin, T.L. (1998). Parenting stress in mothers of young children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and other severe behavior problems. Child Study Journal, 28, 93-110.

Sofronoff, K., Leslie, A., & Brown, W. (2004). Parent management training and Asperger syndrome: A randomized controlled trial to evaluate a parent based intervention. Autism, 8(3), 301-317.

Stone, W.L., Bendell, D., & Field, T.M. (1988). The impact of socioeconomic status on teenage mothers and children who received early intervention. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 9: 391-408.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1988). Mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of child defiance: Roles of parent and child behaviors and parent adjustment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56(6), 909-915.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1998). Preventing conduct problems in Head Start children: Strengthening parenting competencies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(5), 715-730.

Zahr, L.K. (1996). The effects of war on the behavior of Lebanese preschool children: Influence of home environment and family functioning. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66(3), 401-408.

Developer of Review: 
Carolyn Kuendig, B.A.
Editor of Review: 
Nicole Taylor, Ph.D., Robyn Igelman, M.A., Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Ph.D., Madhur Kulkarni, M.S.
Last Updated: 
Monday, December 2, 2013