Strengths & Challenges Questionnaire

The Strengths & Challenges Questionnaire was designed to help parents learn more about how their kids make choices. Results can show that there is more of a chance for certain kids to get into trouble, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. Our goal is to give parents information to help build on their child’s strengths and to be ready just in case trouble happens.

It is important to keep in mind that the scores on this Questionnaire give us our best guess about your child’s willingness to take risks that might lead to dangerous behaviors in the near future, but it certainly does not mean this will happen for sure. The best research methods that are available were used to develop the Questionnaire. The 29 questions that students are asked to answer were selected using research with youth ages 9 to 13 who were followed over time. The youth in this study answered over 350 questions about themselves, their friends, their schooling, their neighborhoods, and their homes. The questions that best predicted unsafe behaviors after one year were identified. Examples of those unsafe behaviors included not wearing seatbelts, fighting, not using bike helmets, and smoking. Then, those questions were re-tested with 450 additional youth to make sure that the Questionnaire worked the way it was intended.

The types of things that are asked during the Questionnaire are:

  • How easily and how much a student gets angry with others,
  • How easily a student can get distracted from what they are doing,
  • The sorts of risky things that their group of friends do,
  • How easily a student is influenced by his or her friends, and
  • How easy it would be for a student to get tobacco.  

Strengths & Challenges Questionnaire Follow-up Support is offered by a school representative to help parents understand the results of the Questionnaire. Parents also may elect to receive ideas to deal with their child’s behavioral or emotional challenges, along with ways to continue building on their child’s strengths.