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Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (BITSEA)
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment
Supplemental – Highly Recommended: Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Supplemental: Mitochondrial Disease (Mito) and Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI)
Short Description of Instrument
The Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) is based on the Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (ITSEA). This screening test assesses social or emotional behavior and is appropriate for children ages 12-36 months old. This test consists of a 44-item parent form. 42 items are related to the child's behavior, emotions, relationships, and development. There are 2 items related to the parent's (or childcare provider's) feelings. The test is divided into 2 domains, a 31 item Problem scale and an 11 item Competence scale. The Problem scale addresses Internalizing (8 items), Externalizing (6 items), and Dysregulation (8 Items), behaviors that may indicate autism spectrum disorder (17 items), and other psychopathologies (14 items). In addition to the parent form, there is a childcare provider assessment form.
The BITSEA Parent Form takes 5 to 7 minutes to complete as a questionnaire and 7 to 10 minutes as an interview.
Scoring and Psychometric Properties
Scoring: The BITSEA yields a Problem Total Score (range 0-62) and a Competence Total Score (range 0-22) (M=100, SD=15). The response categories for 42 items are: 0 = Not true/ Rarely, 1 = Somewhat true/ Sometimes, and 2 = Very true/Often. The 2 items addressing the parent's or childcare provider's feelings use a 4-point Likert scale from 1 = Not at all worried to 4 = Very worried. There is also a "no opportunity" code, which allows raters to indicate that they have not had an opportunity to observe the behavior; this code should be used instead of a zero.
Higher score is equal to a higher risk of emotional behavioral problems; Lower score is equal to a higher risk of competence deficit/ delay.
Psychometric Properties: See Briggs-Gowan et al., 2004 and Briggs-Gowan & Carter, 2006 for psychometric properties data.
Strengths: Briggs-Gowan & Carter showed in their 2004 study that the BITSEA is a reliable and valid brief screener for assessing infant-toddler social-emotional and behavioral problems. They also found that when used in a socioeconomic and ethnically diverse community-based population there was good test-retest reliability.
Key References:
Briggs-Gowan, MJ.; Carter, AS. Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) manual, version 2.0. New Haven, CT: Yale University; 2002
Briggs-Gowan M, and Carter A. Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) [Internet]. Pearson Education, Inc. 2006. Retrieved 22Jun2016. Available from:
Briggs-Gowan MJ, Carter AS, Irwin JR, Wachtel K, Cicchetti DV. The Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment: screening for social-emotional problems and delays in competence. J Pediatr Psychol. 2004 Mar;29(2):143-55.
Additional References:
Briggs-Gowan MJ, Carter AS, Bosson-Heenan J, Guyer AE, Horwitz SM. Are infant-toddler social-emotional and behavioral problems transient? J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2006 Jul;45(7):849-58.
Briggs-Gowan MJ, Carter AS, McCarthy K, Augustyn M, Caronna E, Clark R. Clinical validity of a brief measure of early childhood social-emotional/behavioral problems. J Pediatr Psychol. 2013 Jun;38(5):577-87.
Karabekiroglu K, Briggs-Gowan MJ, Carter AS, Rodopman-Arman A, Akbas S. The clinical validity and reliability of the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA). Infant Behav Dev. 2010 Dec;33(4):503-9.
Pontoppidan M, Niss NK, Pejtersen JH, Julian MM, Vaever MS. Parent report measures of infant and toddler social-emotional development: a systematic review. Fam Pract. 2017 Apr 1;34(2):127-137.
Document last updated March 2024