Psychometrics and Cross-Cultural Comparisons of the Illustration-Based Assessment of Liability and Exposure to Substance Use and Antisocial Behavior© for Children

Ty A. Ridenour*, 1, Sonia Minnes2, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina3, Maureen D. Reynolds1, Ralph E. Tarter1, Duncan B. Clark4
1 University of Pittsburgh, USA
2 Case Western Reserve University, USA
3 University of Florida, USA
4 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, USA

© 2011 Ridenour et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3501 Terrace St., 711 Salk Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA; Tel: 412-383-5245; Fax: 412-624-1929; E-mail:


Elementary school-age child report instruments that do not require reading or interviews are lacking. In four samples, psychometric estimates for 5- to 9-year-olds were obtained for the Assessment of Liability and Exposure to Substance use and Antisocial behavior© (ALEXSA©), a child-report instrument that can be completed even by illiterate children. Invariance between minority groups vs Caucasians also was tested. Samples were: high-risk, low SES African- Americans (n=337), youth of varied ethnicities experiencing chronic stress (n=209), Mexican migrants in a reading remediation program (n=45), and U.S. twins (42 pairs) who were nearly all Caucasian. Validity criteria consisted of child- , parent-, teacher- and research evaluator-ratings on previously developed research and clinical instruments. Replicating results with older samples, ALEXSA factors had adequate or better reliabilities and demonstrated validity in all four studies. Ethnic invariance was found except for differences that were expected due to migrant's after-school program. In sum, psychometrics of the ALEXSA were supported for 5- to 9-year-olds of varied races/ethnicities, risk levels and academic skills.

Keywords: Assessment, children, substance use, antisocial behavior, risk factors, validity, reliability.