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

Russell A. Barkley

A Paperback Original
A Paperback Original
May 9, 2012
ISBN 9781462503940
Price: $175.00 $131.25
184 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
Convenient Wire Binding
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The Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale—Children and Adolescents (BDEFS-CA) is an empirically based tool for evaluating clinically significant dimensions of child and adolescent executive functioning. Evidence indicates that the BDEFS-CA is far more predictive of impairments in daily life activities than more time-consuming and costly traditional EF tests. The BDEFS-CA offers an ecologically valid snapshot of the capacities involved in time management, organization and problem solving, self-restraint, self-motivation, and self-regulation of emotions. Two parent-report forms are included: a long form (10-15 minutes) and a short form (3-5 minutes). There is also a short clinical interview form based on the short-form rating scale, for use in unusual circumstances where a parent is unable to complete a rating scale. Special features include an ADHD risk index in the long form. Complete instructions for scoring and interpreting the scale are provided.

What does it do?: Provides an ecologically valid assessment of executive functioning deficits in daily life activities.
Age Range: 6-17
Administration Time: Long Form: 10-15 minutes. Short Form: 3-5 minutes.
Format: Parent-report rating scale.
Cost of Additional Forms: No cost—purchasers get permission to reproduce the forms and score sheets for repeated use.

See also the Barkley Functional Impairment Scale—Children and Adolescents (BFIS-CA) and the Barkley Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Scale—Children and Adolescents (BSCTS-CA). Also available: Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale (BDEFS for Adults) and Barkley's authoritative book on EF development and deficits, Executive Functions.

Includes Permission to Photocopy
Enhancing the convenience and value of the BDEFS-CA, the limited photocopy license allows purchasers to reproduce the forms and score sheets and yields considerable cost savings over other available scales. The large format and sturdy wire binding facilitate photocopying.

Age range: 6-17.

“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, Director, Institute for Learning and Development (ILD) and ResearchILD, Lexington, Massachusetts; Harvard Graduate School of Education

“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
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.

Table of Contents

Introduction sample

1. Executive Functioning in Children sample

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)

About the Author

Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, ABCN, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Barkley has worked with children, adolescents, and families since the 1970s and is the author of numerous bestselling books for both professionals and the public, including Taking Charge of ADHD and Your Defiant Child. He has also published six assessment scales and more than 280 scientific articles and book chapters on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, executive functioning, and childhood defiance, and is editor of the newsletter The ADHD Report. A frequent conference presenter and speaker who is widely cited in the national media, Dr. Barkley is past president of the Section on Clinical Child Psychology (the former Division 12) of the American Psychological Association (APA), and of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. He is a recipient of awards from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the APA, among other honors. His website is


Child clinical, forensic, and school psychologists; neuropsychologists; social workers; psychiatrists; psychopathology researchers.

Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale—Children and Adolescents (BDEFS-CA), Barkley Functional Impairment Scale—Children and Adolescents (BFIS-CA) and Barkley Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Scale—Children and Adolescents (BSCTS-CA)Special package offer: The Barkley Functional Impairment Scale-Children and Adolescents (BFIS-CA) evaluates 15 different domains of psychosocial functioning; the Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale—Children and Adolescents (BDEFS-CA) focuses on clinically significant executive functioning difficulties; and the Barkley Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Scale—Children and Adolescents (BSCTS-CA) addresses concentration deficits in daily life activities.

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