Towards Construct Validity of Relational Aggression: An Examination of the Children’s Social Behavior Scale

Cassandra M. Brandes*, Kathleen Wade Reardon, Allison N. Shields, Jennifer L. Tackett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Relational aggression—or behavior intended to harm the relationships of its victims—has been the focus of interdisciplinary study across developmental, clinical, personality, and social psychology in the last several decades. One of the primary measures used to assess relational aggression in youth is the Children’s Social Behavior Scale (CSBS; Crick & Grotpeter, 1995), but despite its common usage, the construct validity of this measure has not been comprehensively assessed. In the present study, we used a multistage construct validity framework to thoroughly investigate the nature of relational aggression across six community samples totaling 3,102 youth and their caregivers. We used multiple methods to map the reliability, internal or structural validity, and external validity of this scale. Through these analyses, we found that CSBS Relational Aggression demonstrated strong internal consistency, test– retest, and interrater reliability as well as a robust single factor structure and invariance across multiple demographic groups. External validity analyses positioned relational aggression within a theoretically consistent nomological net including psychopathology, personality, and social developmental factors. Contrary to concerns about the validity of self- and parent-reports of relational aggression, both parentand youth-report forms of the CSBS Relational Aggression scale demonstrated strong reliability and validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-870
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


  • Construct validity
  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Psychometrics
  • Relational aggression
  • Social aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards Construct Validity of Relational Aggression: An Examination of the Children’s Social Behavior Scale'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this