Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale--Children and Adolescents (BDEFS-CA)



Technical Information

The BDEFS-CA is the culmination of more than 17 years of research and development aimed at identifying the most useful items for the assessment of deficits in executive functioning (EF) in daily life activities. Initially, development of the BDEFS began with forms for use with adults. This manual presents a downward extension of the adult BDEFS, created and normed for use with parents in evaluating their ...

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Technical Information

The BDEFS-CA is the culmination of more than 17 years of research and development aimed at identifying the most useful items for the assessment of deficits in executive functioning (EF) in daily life activities. Initially, development of the BDEFS began with forms for use with adults. This manual presents a downward extension of the adult BDEFS, created and normed for use with parents in evaluating their children, ages 6–17 years. 


The large normative sample (N=1,922) is representative of the U.S. population in terms of region, socioeconomic status, education, ethnicity/race, and gender, based on the 2000 U.S. Census. Unlike other EF rating scales, the normative sample was not drawn from a single state or region, was not filtered to exclude children receiving special education or psychiatric medications, and did not rely on school staff to initially obtain the sample. It is therefore a true general population sample.



Reliability of the scores is quite satisfactory as evidenced by high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha ranging from .95 to .97 scores across the five scales) and by high test–retest reliability over a 3–5 week interval (ranging from .73 to .82 across scales and .82 for the Total EF Summary Score).



Validity of the scale scores was evident in numerous analyses, including factor analyses; correlations with other EF rating scales; significant group differences and distinct profile patterns across multiple developmental, learning, psychiatric, and neurological disorders; and correlations, regression analyses, and group comparisons concerning disorder discrimination and concurrent validity with various measures of functional impairment in major life activities (family functioning, peer relations, educational functioning, community activities, and risk for accidental injuries, among other domains.)


More extensive technical information is provided in the manual.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Barkley has once again developed a useful, easily administered, and cost-effective assessment instrument. The value of the BDEFS-CA goes beyond the instrument itself; the thorough yet concise manual is also extremely useful. Barkley provides an impeccable presentation of the development of the scale and the methodology for measuring its reliability and validity. He makes a strong case for the relationship between attention disorders and EF deficits and documents the impact of these deficits in many areas of children's lives."--Peg Dawson, EdD, Center for Learning and Attention Disorders, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

"The BDEFS-CA represents a key contribution to our field. This measure will be invaluable for practitioners, educators, and psychology students, who now have another important tool for evaluating executive function processes."--Lynn Meltzer, PhD, Research Institute for Learning and Development (ResearchILD) and Tufts University

"The BDEFS-CA offers a different perspective than existing scales or performance-based measures--it adheres to Barkley's hybrid theory of EF, with the intention of providing ecologically valid and relevant clinical information. Professionals who work with children and adolescents will find this measure useful for identifying EF areas that are affecting everyday functioning. The long form provides the most comprehensive information. The short form and interview format can serve as screening measures and potentially as quick means of progress monitoring. A major advantage of the BDEFS-CA is the ease and cost-effectiveness of using this measure."--Cynthia A. Riccio, PhD, Professor and Director of Training, School Psychology Program, Texas A&M University

"There is a critical need for valid and reliable EF assessment measures. This instrument is an invaluable tool for assessing EF deficits in the daily lives of children and adolescents and also will assist in measuring treatment response. The BDEFS-CA is unique in that it is theoretically and empirically based and focuses on EF in daily living, rather than lab-based performance tasks. The scale is psychometrically sound and provides a summary score as well as specific domain scores that will aid clinicians in developing and monitoring interventions. The BDEFS-CA would be appropriate for graduate assessment courses in school psychology, clinical psychology, counseling, and medical training programs."--Lisa Weyandt, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462503940
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/21/2012
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 789,795
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, ABCN, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Barkley has published numerous books and more than 260 scientific articles and book chapters on ADHD, executive functioning, and childhood defiance. He is also the editor of the newsletter The ADHD Report. Dr. Barkley is well known for his pioneering research on ADHD in both children and adults. His rating scales are based on more than 16 years of research using prototypes of the scales, and are normed on large samples representative of the U.S. population. Dr. Barkley's latest book is Executive Functions: What They Are, How They Work, and Why They Evolved. His website is
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Table of Contents

1. Executive Functioning in Children
2. Development of the BDEFS-CA
3. Normative Sample
4. Factor Analysis, Scale Construction, and Item Frequencies
5. Relationship of BDEFS-CA Scores to Demographic Factors in the Normative Sample
6. Reliability
7. Validity
8. Relationship of BDEFS-CA Scores to Impairment
9. Scoring and Interpretation of the BDEFS-CA Forms
Appendix: BDEFS-CA Forms, Interview, and EF Profiles
BDEFS-CA Long Form
BDEFS-CA Short Form
BDEFS-CA Interview
BDEFS-CA Long Form EF Profile (Ages 6–11, Males Only)
BDEFS-CA Long Form EF Profile (Ages 12–17, Males Only)
BDEFS-CA Long Form EF Profile (Ages 6–11, Females Only)
BDEFS-CA Long Form EF Profile (Ages 12–17, Females Only)
BDEFS-CA Short Form EF Profile (All Ages and Both Sexes)

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