Volume 13, Issue 4 (1984)
Identification of Two Dimensions of Cognitive Deficits Through the Factor Analysis of Teacher Ratings
Ronald Neeper, Benjamin B. Lahey
ABSTRACT: Previous factor analytic research on teacher ratings of children’s behavior has consistently identified a number of relatively independent dimensions of maladaptive behavior. In addition,a factor tapping cognitive deficits composed of items describing inattentiveness and impulsivity has also been extracted frequently. It is not known, however, if this single factor adequately assesses the cognitive domain. In the present study, 649 children were rated on 60items describing a broad range of cognitive deficits, inappropriate behavior, and positive social behavior. A principal components analysis using an orthogonal varimax rotation yielded five factors. Three of these factors (conduct problems, anxiety-depression, and social competence) largely confirmed previous findings on maladaptive and appropriate classroom behavior. A fourth factor emerged comprised of items describing attention deficits and impulsivity as in previous research, but items related to perceptual problems also loaded most strongly on this factor. More importantly, a cognitive factor not previously identified in factor analytic research was extracted that described deficits in language processing and memory. These findings suggest that the cognitive dimensions of maladaptive child behavior are more complex than indicated by previous factor analytic research.
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