Investigating the factor structure of the child behavior checklist dysregulation profile in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder

Amy Keefer, Vini Singh, Luther G. Kalb, Carla A. Mazefsky, Roma A. Vasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Dysregulation has been identified as an important risk factor for the development of psychiatric disorders in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Therefore, it is necessary to empirically characterize dysregulation and identify psychometrically sound and readily available assessment methods in the ASD population. We sought to evaluate the factor structure of the Child Behavior Checklist-Dysregulation Profile (CBCL-DP), an established dysregulation measure in neurotypical children that is derived from the CBCL, in a large, clinically referred sample of children, ages 6–18 years, with ASD (n = 727). Confirmatory factor analysis was used to characterize dysregulation and assess the validity of the CBCL-DP in children with ASD. Our findings support a bi-factor model of dysregulation in which dysregulation is a broad and distinct syndrome that is associated with the three subdomains of the CBCL-DP, anxiety/depression (AD), attention problems (AP), and aggressive behavior (AGG). Dysregulation was associated with most items in the AD and AGG domains and few items in the AP domain. This association with AD and AGG indicates that dysregulation in ASD may be conceptualized as the combined experience of internalized, negative mood states and externalized, reactive behaviors. These findings provide support as well as important caveats for the use of the CBCL-DP as a measure of dysregulation in the ASD population. Autism Res 2020, 13: 436–443.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-443
Number of pages8
JournalAutism Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020



  • autism spectrum disorder
  • child behavior checklist
  • dysregulation
  • factor analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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