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Barkley Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Scale—Children and Adolescents (BSCTS-CA)

Russell A. Barkley

A Paperback Original
A Paperback Original
April 3, 2018
ISBN 9781462535187
Price: $195.00
120 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
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Sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) is increasingly recognized as a valid attention disorder distinct from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The culmination of more than 10 years of research and development, the Barkley Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Scale–Children and Adolescents (BSCTS-CA) is the first empirically based, norm-referenced tool designed to assess SCT symptoms (for example, chronic daydreaming, inability to focus, and lethargy) in the daily life activities of 6- to 17-year-olds. The scale typically takes a parent less than 5 minutes to complete. Detailed instructions for scoring and interpretation are provided. Also included is a clinical interview form based on the rating scale, for use in unusual circumstances where a parent is unable to fill out a rating scale.

What does it do?: Assesses concentration deficits in the daily life activities of children and adolescents.
Age Range: 6–17.
Administration Time: Less than 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 Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale—Children and Adolescents (BDEFS-CA) and the Barkley Functional Impairment Scale—Children and Adolescents (BFIS-CA).

Includes Permission to Photocopy
Enhancing the convenience and value of the BSCTS-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

Forms and Profiles
BSCTS-CA Parent Rating Scale
BSCTS-CA Parent Interview
BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 6–11, Males Only)
BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 6–11, Females Only)
BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 12–17, Males Only)
BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 12–17, Females Only)

“This excellent manual presents the BSCTS-CA test, including both theoretical underpinnings and administrative/interpretive information. It is written by a nationally renowned expert in the field of ADHD. This should prove to be a useful rating scale for understanding sluggish cognitive tempo.”

Doody's Review Service

“The BSCTS-CA is a timely, much-needed, empirically based measure of SCT in children and adolescents. Carefully developed and evaluated in a large, representative sample, the BSCTS-CA will be of tremendous use to clinicians and researchers alike. This user-friendly manual presents compelling evidence for the validity, reliability, and clinical importance of SCT in youth. Once again, Barkley has used his extensive expertise to provide the field with an exceptional tool for anyone interested in attentional problems in children and adolescents.”

—Stephen P. Becker, PhD, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

“This is an important contribution from one of the pioneers in the discovery and research of SCT. Readers accustomed to dry technical manuals will be pleasantly surprised. The manual begins with a scholarly primer on SCT that manages to be accessible and easily understood, all the while surveying virtually everything that is known about SCT. The remainder of the manual focuses on the careful derivation and meticulous norming of the scale. The BSCTS-CA is an instrument with strong psychometric properties and gender- and age-based norms for children and adolescents that will help any clinician make defensible, evidence-based interpretations for their patients.”

—Keith McBurnett, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

“Barkley has done it again! This rating scale and manual cut through the controversy about SCT with scholarly precision. You will learn how to identify SCT, why it is a valid category, and how it differs from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The BSCTS-CA comes complete with norms and data supporting its use as an evidence-based assessment tool. Clinicians, researchers, and students will value this resource.”

—Stephen V. Faraone, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical University

“Barkley has gone above and beyond with this manual, combining reproducible rating scales for both children and adolescents with a host of useful clinical information. In addition to providing normative data, he presents findings on how SCT symptoms present across multiple mental health conditions and sociodemographic factors, and how SCT relates to many domains of impairment. There is even information on how clinicians can determine if patients make reliable improvements with treatment. Significantly, the scale evaluates SCT from a multidimensional framework, allowing clinicians to separately assess the daydreaming and sluggish/slow aspects of the disorder. Given that SCT has gained national attention, leading to assessment requests and questions from parents, this is an important resource for clinicians.”

—Joshua M. Langberg, PhD, Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Barkley has developed yet another valuable resource for educators, researchers, and clinicians working with children and adolescents. This manual provides a comprehensive but user-friendly overview of the empirical literature on SCT, a detailed description of the development and validation of the BSCTS-CA, and reproducible rating scales. In addition to normative data from a large national sample, the manual addresses patterns of comorbidity and functional impairment, making the BSCTS-CA a timely tool that will both aid the evidence-based assessment of attention disorders and facilitate future research in this area.”

—Matthew J. Gormley, PhD., Department of Educational Psychology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
The BSCTS-CA is the culmination of more than 10 years of research and development into identifying the most useful items for the assessment of sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT). SCT is characterized by excessive amounts of daydreaming, staring, mental fogginess, and confusion, and slow or sluggish motor activity that may lead to impairment in major life activities. The scale was developed for children and adolescents, ages 6–17.

The large initial sample (N=1,922) was representative of children and adolescents in the U.S. population in terms of region, socioeconomic status, education, ethnicity/race, and gender, based on the 2000 U.S. Census. It was eventually reduced to 1,800 cases to make it even more representative of the U.S. child and adolescent population. 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 (Chronbach’s alpha ranging from .87 to .93 scores across the 3 subscales) and by high test–retest reliability over a 3–5 week interval (ranging from .79 to .84 across subscales).

Validity of the scale scores was evident in numerous analyses, including factor analyses; correlations with other 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, education functioning, community activities, and risk for accidental injuries, among other domains).

More extensive technical information is provided in the manual.

Table of Contents

1. A Review of Research on SCT

2. Scale Development, Survey Methods, and Normative Sample

3. Factor Analysis, Scale Construction, and Item Frequencies

4. Relationship of SCT Scores to Demographic Factors in the Normative Sample

5. Reliability

6. Validity

7. Relationships of BSCTS-CA Scores to Impairments

8. Scoring and Interpretation of the BSCTS-CA Forms

Appendix: BSCTS-CA Forms and SCT Profiles

BSCTS-CA Parent Rating Scale

BSCTS-CA Parent Interview

BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 6–11, Males Only)

BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 6–11, Females Only)

BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 12–17, Males Only)

BSCTS-CA SCT Profile (Ages 12–17, Females Only)


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 300 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/adolescent clinical and school psychologists, neuropsychologists, child/adolescent psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and 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.

Order all 3 items for $435.95, instead of $585.00 if bought separately!

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