An Informant Report Behavior Diary for Measuring Temper Outbursts in an Intervention Setting

Leah E. Bull, Chris Oliver, Penelope L. Tunnicliffe, Kate Woodcock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


Temper outbursts are associated with several psychological disorders and comprise a high priority for intervention. However, the low frequency of outbursts presents a challenge for valid measurement. In the present study an informant report behavior diary for measuring temper outbursts was developed and its validity assessed in a case series. Caregivers of 12 individuals with the neurodevelopmental disorder Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS, in which temper outbursts are common) completed a behavior diary over 4 weeks, and a structured interview. Heart rate and movement data were recorded during a sample of the days subject to diary reporting. Individuals with PWS completed self-report ratings of negative emotion experience. Behavior diaries showed high concordance with the component behaviors and duration of temper outbursts reported in structured interviews; but tended to report a lower frequency. For outbursts reported in diaries during physiological recording, heart rate was consistently elevated above a resting state baseline; and was comparable to that recorded during high physical activity. Available self-report data demonstrated correspondence with the diaries but few self-report data were produced. The present results provide critical proof of principle data supporting the concurrent validity of the ecologically valid, resource efficient diaries, which can be exploited in future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-504
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number4
Early online date24 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Behavior diary
  • Informant report diary
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Tantrums
  • Temper outbursts
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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