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The structure of oppositionality: response dispositions and situational aspects

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Background: The Amsterdam Scale of Oppositionality (ASO) is a recently developed self-report instrument to measure the full range of oppositionality. It was used to test the assumption that oppositionality can best be conceptualized as a combination of emotions and behaviors varying across contexts, i.e., with parents, peers and authority figures. Method: The sample consisted of 560 boys and 598 girls, aged 8 to 12 years. The thirty items of the ASO, grouped in item parcels, were analyzed using confirmatory factor analyses. Results: Results confirmed the main hypothesis. The best fitting models contained strongly related emotional and behavioral factors and three mutually related situational factors. Oppositionality appeared to be to a large extent situation-specific. Girls are more affected by the situation than boys and show less oppositionality only outside the family context. Conclusions: Results are discussed with respect to the concept of oppositionality, varying expectations for interpersonal consequences, and implications for clinical assessment and studies of inter-informant reliability.
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Keywords: Behavior problems; disruptive behavior; emotion; oppositional defiant disorder (ODD); questionnaires; sex differences; situational specificity; structural equation modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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