Overview

The MacArthur Health and Behavior Questionnaire (HBQ) was developed by members and affiliates of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Psychopathology and Development, which was chaired by Dr. David Kupfer of the University of Pittsburgh.

The original HBQ (version 1.0) was designed to collect data from adult reporters about children between the ages of 4 and 8 years. The HBQ comprises multiple scales that measure children’s mental health symptoms (e.g., Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms and their subscales), physical health (e.g., Chronic Medical Conditions, Global Physical Health), social functioning (e.g., Peer Acceptance and Rejection, Prosocial Behaviors), and school functioning (e.g., Academic Competence, School Engagement). The HBQ also includes measures of children’s health care utilization in the mental, physical, and school domains. Versions of the instrument have been created for both parent (HBQ-P 1.0) and teacher (HBQ-T 1.0) report. Although several publications have established clinically meaningful cut-points for some of the mental health scales, the HBQ does not yield clinical diagnoses. Rather, it provides dimensional scales to enable researchers to assess children’s mental, physical, social, and academic well-being.

An important feature of the HBQ is a multi-informant, multi-domain approach. When used together with the Berkeley Puppet Interview Symptomatology (BPI-S), Social (BPI-Soc) and Academic (BPI-A) modules, parallel reports can be obtained from parents, teachers, and young children. The HBQ and BPI were developed in tandem so as to maximize their conceptual and methodological overlap. Researchers interested in the BPI should contact Dr. Jennifer Ablow or Dr. Jeffrey Measelle at the University of Oregon.

Subsequent to the development of the original HBQ, Dr. Marilyn Essex at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and her collaborators developed child self-report versions of the HBQ for use with older children. These use item formats modeled on the BPI but with age-appropriate modifications to both item content and method (i.e., paper-and-pencil instruments replace puppets). Developmental adjustments to item content were also made to the original instruments to create adult-report versions of the HBQ for use with older children. Thus, parent, teacher, and child forms (designated HBQ-P 2.1, HBQ-T, 2.1, and HBQ-C 2.1) are available for use with children and adolescents ages 9 to 18.