Behavioral Style Questionnaire for 3 to 7 Year Old Children

by Sean C. McDevitt and William B. Carey

The Behavioral Style Questionnaire is one of the five Carey Temperament Scales and provides information regarding stylistic aspects of behavior from the beginning of the 3rd year until the end of the 7th year. The questionnaire is based on the landmark research of Drs. Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess and associates in the New York Longitudinal Study. Categories of temperament or behavioral style indicate the "how" of behavior, rather than the what or why. Individual responses to the environment are based on biological as well as environmental features. Research has shown that infants, children and adults differ in consistent ways from one another on these dimensions that form of the foundation of individual personality. The BSQ was published in 1978 and has been used in numerous clinical and research applications over the last 25+ years.

This 100 item caregiver report questionnaire was distilled from behavioral descriptions used in the original NYLS research. The BSQ measures 9 clinically important categories to describe childhood temperament: activity level, rhythmicity, adaptability, approach to novelty, emotional intensity, quality of mood, sensory sensitivity, distractibility and persistence. These dimensions are readily identified and easily understood by caregivers.

The BSQ iReport Writer software creates two reports: 1) the professional report includes a temperament profile, interpretations of each category score, validity checks for missing data, social desirability and ratings/perceptions discrepancies as well as category scores, zscores and raw data; 2) the caregiver report which includes the temperament profile and temperament category interpretations that are personalized using the name and gender of the child.

BSQ Uses

*Clinical use with children and caregivers to identify temperamental contribution to behavior and emotional expression at home and school. Especially useful in situations where caregivers identify stylistic rather than situational or contextual issues as problematic.

*Caregiver consultation to identify specific temperament profile and improve the 'goodness of fit' between caregiver and child in indicated areas of needed accommodation. BSQ is frequently utilized in parenting, prevention and early intervention programs.

*Development of strategies for reducing aversive behavior by changing methods for dealing with conflict that is temperament related.

*Research that investigates the role of temperament in significant areas of function in the early childhood period.

Materials available for the BSQ (Note that costs support ongoing development of these instruments)

Scoring Methods: Hand, Online or (100% electronic)

  • Professional Practice Sets with Test Manual, Users Guide and questionnaires, scoring and profile sheets.
  • Questionnaire refills, with and without scoring and profile sheets.
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  • BSQ iReport Writer software uses and iReport Writer practice sets.
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  • can be administered and scored using the 100% electronic website. Now available!
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