Concordance of the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, second and third editions

A. M. von Buttlar, T. A. Zabel, A. E. Pritchard, A. D. Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Adaptive functioning is an important area of assessment with implications for differential diagnosis, educational placement, service eligibility and criminal sentencing. While periodic normative and content updates of adaptive functioning measures are necessary to keep measures relevant, knowledge of equivalence between versions is also required if adaptive measures are to be used to track the stability of adaptive functioning skills over time. Method: This paper presents two studies that used between-group and within-group comparison designs to examine the equivalence of the second and third editions of the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS) in a mixed clinical sample. In study 1, ABAS-2 scores for children assessed between 2014 and 2015 (n = 1036; mean age = 10.24, SD = 3.44) were compared with ABAS-3 scores for children assessed between 2015 and 2016 (n = 1291; mean age = 10.51, SD = 3.70). Study 2 examined a separate sample of clinically referred children (n = 572) for whom parent ratings had been obtained on both the ABAS-2 (mean age = 9.65, SD = 2.80) and ABAS-3 (mean age = 13.33, SD = 2.95) in the course of repeated assessment. Results: For Study 1, while no intelligence quotient score differences were observed between the ABAS-2 group (mean Verbal Comprehension Index = 93.67, SD = 16.95) and the ABAS-3 group (mean Verbal Comprehension Index = 93.08, SD = 17.42), ABAS-2 scores were lower than ABAS-3 scores on the Conceptual, Practical, and General Adaptive Composite scales. In study 2, a similar pattern was observed (ABAS-2 < ABAS-3 on the Conceptual, Practical, and General Adaptive Composite scales), and concordance correlation coefficients ranged from 0.54 [0.49, 0.58] (Practical composite) to 0.68 [0.64, 0.72] (Conceptual composite). The Practical composite had the lowest concordance correlation coefficient value and the largest mean score difference between ABAS versions. Conclusions: The ABAS-3 scores may be higher than ABAS-2 scores in clinical populations. Knowledge of these potential discrepancies will be critical when interpreting standard score changes across ABAS versions in the course of clinical, educational and forensic assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-295
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • adaptive behaviour
  • concordance
  • developmental disorder
  • intellectual disability
  • psychometrics
  • reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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