Background and Objectives: Special education in Arab countries, including Qatar, is hampered by the lack of reliable and valid assessments that are (a) in Arabic, (b) contextualized to Arab countries, and (c) normed on appropriate local samples as such instruments are necessary for the accurate identification of disabilities and development of effective instruction. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioral screening tool completed by teachers and parents of children and youth. Its 25 items assess a range of emotional and behavioral disorders through six scales. The instrument, widely used in research as well as practice, has been translated into more than 50 languages and used across a number of countries. Its use in Arab countries, and especially the Gulf, has been limited, however. This UREP-funded research assessed the adequacy of the Arabic version of the SDQ in Qatar by (a) examining the instrument's psychometric properties and (b) investigating its efficacy in identifying emotional and behavioral disorders. Methods: SDQs were collected on over 2,300 students from six primary schools in Qatar. The schools were selected based on geographic location and students' gender, academic performance, and nationalities. Analyses investigated (a) the theoretical structure of the SDQ, (b) the reliability of the SDQ as a whole and its scales, and (c) score classification using standard scoring bands. Results: Results from confirmatory factor analyses suggested that the structure of the SDQ and its scales found in other research was replicated to a large extent, but not entirely. The internal consistencies of the instrument and its scales were adequate to strong for all but two scales. For only three of the 12 scales did the application of the standard scoring bands, however, begin to sort the students into the 80% normal, 10% borderline, and 10% abnormal distribution of scores supported by research in some countries. Conclusions: Additional work is needed to improve this instrument needed in Qatar by: (a) strengthening the internal consistencies of unreliable scales and (b) constructing Qatar‐specific bands for score classification. Doing so will provide schools with an important resource for addressing students' emotional and behavioral needs.


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