A New Look at the Psychometrics of the Parenting Scale Through the Lens of Item Response Theory

Michael F. Lorber, Shu Xu, Amy M.Smith Slep, Lisanne Bulling, Susan G. O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The psychometrics of the Parenting Scale's Overreactivity and Laxness subscales were evaluated using item response theory (IRT) techniques. The IRT analyses were based on 2 community samples of cohabiting parents of 3- to 8-year-old children, combined to yield a total sample size of 852 families. The results supported the utility of the Overreactivity and Laxness subscales, particularly in discriminating among parents in the mid to upper reaches of each construct. The original versions of the Overreactivity and Laxness subscales were more reliable than alternative, shorter versions identified in replicated factor analyses from previously published research and in IRT analyses in the present research. Moreover, in several cases, the original versions of these subscales, in comparison with the shortened versions, exhibited greater 6-month stabilities and correlations with child externalizing behavior and couple relationship satisfaction. Reliability was greater for the Laxness than for the Overreactivity subscale. Item performance on each subscale was highly variable. Together, the present findings are generally supportive of the psychometrics of the Parenting Scale, particularly for clinical research and practice. They also suggest areas for further development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-626
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'A New Look at the Psychometrics of the Parenting Scale Through the Lens of Item Response Theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this