Scale of emotional development–short: Reliability and validity in two samples of children with an intellectual disability

P. S. Sterkenburg*, G. E.M. Kempelmann, J. Hentrich, J. Vonk, S. Zaal, R. Erlewein, M. Hudson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Intellectual disability (ID) is often accompanied by more significant delays in emotional development than in cognitive development. Diagnostic assessment can provide insight into emotional functioning. However, few standardized assessment instruments are available. Aims: Examine the reliability and validity of the Scale of Emotional Development–Short (SED-S) in children with ID. Methods and procedures: This methodological instrument validation study was conducted in the Netherlands and Switzerland with children (N = 118) older than 3 and younger than 18 years with ID ranging from profound to mild. Measures included: demographic and medical data, SED-S, and the Vineland. Coherence and reliability of the SED-S were determined using Cronbach's alpha, and validity was examined using Goodman and Kruskal's γ, Kruskal-Wallis H, and Mann-Whitney U tests. Outcomes and results: The reliability of the SED-S was high, the convergent validity was good, and divergent validity was indicated in relation to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), visual and/or auditory impairment, and adaptive functioning. Further research: Research is needed to better understand the implications of ASD and visual and/or auditory impairment on emotional development and their association with (normal) intelligence. Children with ID may also benefit from (more) detailed guidelines for imbalanced profiles on the SED-S.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103821
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Early online date9 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Assessment
  • Children
  • Construct-
  • Convergent-
  • Divergent validity
  • Emotional development
  • Emotional needs
  • Instrument development
  • Intellectual disability
  • Reliability
  • Scale
  • Validity


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