The Aftercare and School Observation System (ASOS): Reliability and Component Structure

Erin M. Ingoldsby, Elizabeth C. Shelleby, Tonya Lane, Daniel S. Shaw, Thomas J. Dishion, Melvin N. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the psychometric properties and component structure of a newly developed observational system, the Aftercare and School Observation System (ASOS). Participants included 468 children drawn from a larger longitudinal intervention study. The system was utilized to assess participant children in school lunchrooms and recess and various afterschool environments. Exploratory factor analyses examined whether a core set of component constructs assessing qualities of children's relationships, caregiver involvement and monitoring, and experiences in school and aftercare contexts that have been linked to children's behavior problems would emerge. Construct validity was assessed by examining associations between ASOS constructs and questionnaire measures assessing children's behavior problems and relationship qualities in school and aftercare settings. Across both settings, two factors showed very similar empirical structures and item loadings, reflecting the constructs of a negative/aggressive context and caregiver positive involvement, with one additional unique factor from the school setting reflecting the extent to which caregiver methods used resulted in less negative behavior and two additional unique factors from the aftercare setting reflecting positivity in the child's interactions and general environment and negativity in the child's interactions and setting. Modest correlations between ASOS factors and aftercare provider and teacher ratings of behavior problems, adult-child relationships, and a rating of school climate contributed to our interpretation that the ASOS scores capture meaningful features of children's experiences in these settings. This study represents the first step of establishing that the ASOS reliably and validly captures risk and protective relationships and experiences in extra-familial settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-902
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • After school context
  • Behavior problems
  • Child adjustment
  • Observational data
  • School context

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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