Behavioural screening tools may be used to identify at-risk children in resource-limited settings in sub-Saharan Africa. The ASEBA forms (Child Behaviour Checklist and Youth Self-Report) are frequently translated and adapted for use in sub-Saharan African populations, but little is known about their measurement properties in these contexts.
We conducted a systematic review of all published journal articles that used the ASEBA forms with sub-Saharan African samples. We evaluated the reported psychometric properties, as well as the methodological quality of the psychometric evaluations, using COSMIN (COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments) guidelines.
Fifty-eight studies reported measurement properties of the ASEBA forms. Most studies came from Southern (n = 29, 50%) or East African (n = 25, 43%) countries. Forty-nine studies (84%) used translated versions of the tool, but details regarding the translation process, if available, were often sparse. Most studies (n = 47, 81%) only reported internal consistency (using coefficient alpha) for one or more subscale. The methodological quality of the psychometric evaluations ranged from ‘very good’ to ‘inadequate’ across all measurement properties, except for internal consistency.
There is limited good quality psychometric evidence available for the ASEBA forms in sub-Saharan Africa. We recommend (i) implementing a standardised procedure for conducting and reporting translation processes and (ii) conducting more comprehensive psychometric evaluations of the translated versions of the tools.