A quantitative measure of restricted and repetitive behaviors for early childhood

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14 Scopus citations


Background: Restricted and repetitive behaviors are characteristic phenotypic features of many neurodevelopmental, psychiatric, and neurological conditions. During early childhood, such behaviors are considered normative. More research is needed to delineate the dimensions of restricted and repetitive behavior across typical and atypical development during this period. Methods: We developed the 34-item parent-rated Repetitive Behavior Scale for Early Childhood (RBS-EC) to capture quantitative, dimensional features across a broad range of behaviors contributing to this domain. We evaluated its psychometric properties and factor structure in a community sample of 914 toddlers. Results: The RBS-EC showed excellent overall internal consistency (α = 0.90), strong test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.87 for topographies and 0.90 for frequency) and evidence of convergent and discriminative validity. Using a split-half approach to factor analysis, we identified that a three- or four-factor structure best fit the data and confirmatory factor analysis indicated acceptable fit for both models. The empirically derived four-factor model was consistent with our conceptual model and included repetitive motor, restricted interests and behavior, ritual and routine, and self-directed behavior. Conclusions: This initial study indicates that the RBS-EC is a reliable and valid instrument for characterizing quantitative, dimensional aspects of restricted and repetitive behaviors in young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalJournal of neurodevelopmental disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants K01 MH101653 (Wolff) and R01 MH104324 (Elison) from the National Institute for Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).


  • Circumscribed interests
  • Measurement
  • Motor stereotypy
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Ritualistic behavior
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Toddlers

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