Education, Healthy Living

Researching Child Developmental Disorders with the BRIEF2

Researching Child Developmental Disorders with the BRIEF2

The Behavior Rating of Executive Function, Second Edition (BRIEF2) contains rating scales that measure the executive function of children ages five to eighteen. There are self-report, teacher, and parent forms available.

The objective of the BRIEF2 is to examine profiles of everyday executive function in children of this age range with a variety of different developmental disorders. The forms ask the assessor to rate the child on how often they have experienced certain behaviors in the past six months with 1 being Never, 2 being Sometimes, and 3 being Often.

The BRIEF2 measures nine clinical scales grouped into three indexes including Behavior Regulation, Emotion Regulation, and Cognitive Regulation. These scales are also grouped into an overall composite called the Global Executive Composite (GEC).

Behavior Regulation Index

This index includes scales for rating the child’s ability to control their impulses and appropriately stop their own behavior at the proper time. It also includes rating the child’s ability to keep track of the effect of their behavior on others.

Emotional Regulation Index

This index includes scales for rating the child’s ability to freely move from one situation, activity, or problem to another as the situation demands. It measures their ability to transition or solve problems flexibly.

It also rates their ability to modulate emotional responses appropriately based on the context of the situation.

Cognitive Regulation Index

This index includes scales for rating the child’s ability to begin an activity or task on their own and independently generate ideas without interference or suggestions from others. It measures their ability to complete chores and schoolwork on time, finish tests within a time limit, and work at an appropriate pace.

It measures their capacity for holding onto information in their mind to complete tasks or stay with an activity.

It evaluates their ability to anticipate future events, set goals, and develop appropriate steps ahead of time to carry out tasks. It rates how well they carry out tasks in a systematic manner and understand or communicate key concepts and ideas.

The index also rates how a child can keep their work space, play areas, and materials in order and assess their performance of a certain task to ensure goals are met.


Several groups of children were assessed using the BRIEF2, all of which were matched with typically developing children to create a standardization sample.

Groups of children evaluated includes ADHD-Combined Presentation, ADHD-Inattentive Presentation, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Learning Disability.


Three mixed-model ANOVAs were used, one for each of the parent, teacher, and self-report BRIEF2 forms. The scores on each scale were then treated as within-subject variables and the diagnostic groups were treated as between-subject variables.


The effects and interactions were significant for each of the three forms, as expected. All clinical groups were different in overall levels, and some groups were rated as having greater difficulties with executive function than others.

Each clinical group had a very different profile of elevations – or peaks and valleys – on the scales.

Parent and teacher ratings were similar on most groups whereas the highest elevation for all clinical groups was on the Task Completion scale of the self-report form.


These findings are consistent with expected results, indicating that different diagnostic groups have different characteristic profiles, identifying executive function strengths and weaknesses. The BRIEF2 can measure these strengths and weaknesses in children with a wide range of disorders.

For more information about the BRIEF2, visit WPS Publish.

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