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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An evaluation of the Detroit adjustment inventory McAulay, John David Ewen


The purpose of this thesis was to determine the reliability and the validity of the Detroit Adjustment Inventory, "Telling What I Do” by Harry J. Baker, as a device for assisting teachers and social workers in their guidance programme. The inventory consists of 120 items divided into twenty four topics. For each of the one hundred items there are five choices of answers, for which numerical values from one to five are assigned. The pupil selects the response which most nearly describes his situation and draws a circle around the letter of that choice. The topics include Health, Sleeping-Eating, Self Care, Habits, Worries, Fears, Anger, Pity, Good Mixer, Inferior-Superior, Optimism-Pessimism, Will Power, Home Status, Home Atmosphere, Home Attitudes, Growing Up, Schools, Sportsmanship, Morals, Delinquency, Friends, Acting Your Part, Hobbies and Vocations. A Record Blank is supplied for determining the score from the inventory. The maximum score is 600. The Inventory was given to 111 boys and 91 girls in Grade XI at Kitsilano Junior-Senior High School, Vancouver, during November, 1946. Sixty-three of the boys were retested in early January, 1947. The ten boys who made the lowest scores in the November testing were given guidance during February and March and were given the Inventory again in April, 1947. As a basis for the thesis certain definitions of personality were discussed, and a brief history of personality testing was given. The conclusion was reached that the popular demand for some form of personality measurement has flooded the market with tests which have been insufficiently evaluated. The Teachers’ Handbook for the Inventory was critically analyzed. As a manual suitable for guidance and statistical Interpretation it was found wanting norms, validity, reliability, and intercorrelations between topics, were not given. The Handbook gives only a theoretical discussion of the inventory. The inventory is easily administered and scored. Some language and interpretation difficulties were reported by the students, but generally, they seemed to enjoy doing the inventory. Means and percentile norms were secured for each topic and for total scores. The mean score for boys was 456.85 and 454.51 for girls, on the November testing. The difference between the means is not significant at the 5% level. It was decided, however to treat the two sexes separately. On the January testing the mean score for the 63 boys was 458.41. The difference between the means of the first and second testings was not significant. The extent to which the topics were measuring separate features of personality was determined by computing intercorrelations between selected topics. The majority of the correlations were not significant at the 1% level. Test-retest reliability coefficients were determined for both topics and total scores. The reliability of the inventory based on total scores was found to be .74. For the topics, the reliability coefficient varied from .13 to .97. The relationships between test scores and teacher's judgments on four topics and total adjustment were determined by the null hypothesis, phi coefficients and Pearson's r. Few significant relationships were found. Item validity was determined by means of chi-square techniques. Fifty-two of the one hundred and twenty items were found to discriminate significantly between the 27 boys who made the highest scores and the 27 who made the lowest scores on the November testing. Interviews were held with the ten boys who made the lowest total scores on the November and January testings. In these interviews the remedial suggestions which Baker has prepared for each of his twenty-four topics were used. A personal validation of those topics on which the students had made- low scores was made. In the majority of cases low topic scores were validated by this interview. The ten boys were given the inventory again in early April and it was found six had scores above the 30th percentile which had been set as the lower limit for adjustment. The interviews with these ten boys were recorded. The Detroit Adjustment Inventory is not very satisfactory as a means of diagnosing and treating personality problems of high school students. It has some value as a basis for beginning a discussion on the general problems and difficulties of the student. The inventory has low internal and external validity. The reliability is sufficient for group guidance only.

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