Clocktower Hill Research & Publishing Group

Innovation in Psychometrics Research

Differential Scales of Social Maladjustment and Emotional Disturbance


by David J. Ehrler, Ronnie L. McGhee, Carol G. Phillips, & Elizabeth A. Allen

Ages: 6-0 through 18-11

Testing Time: 5 to 10 minutes

Administration: Individual

The Differential Scales of Social Maladjustment and Emotional Disturbance (DSSMED), is a 46-item, norm-referenced rating scale that can be used to differentiate between students with social maladjustment and those with emotional disturbance. It is also effective in identifying cases of Co-Morbidity (i.e. students exhibiting characteristics of social maladjustment and emotional disturbance who might otherwise go unidentified and unserved through special education). The DSSMED is normed on a national sample of 1,337 students and has strong reliability and validity.

Teachers, school psychologists, or other knowledgeable professionals rate the items on a 5-point Likert-like scale. Ideally, the examiner should be someone who has had regular, daily contact with the student for at least four weeks. Results of the DSSMED can be used as a pre-referral/referral tool to identify “at risk” students, as a subcomponent of a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation of social-emotional-behavioral functioning in children and adolescents, and as one of other sources of data to assist with educational programming decisions.
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