Abstract

A comprehensive list of descriptors of behaviors associated with tactile defensiveness in elementary schoolchildren was compiled as a preliminary to subsequent psychometric measurement of tactile defensiveness. This, the first phase of scale development, was accomplished in the following manner. The construct tactile defensiveness was defined, and a variety of behaviors related to the domain of the construct were collected. The list of behaviors was submitted to an expert for review. Descriptors of statements a child might make based on the behaviors were generated. Then, the list of descriptors was edited, and the remaining descriptors were rated by a panel of experts according to the degree to which the descriptor was associated with tactile defensiveness. Logical and computer analyses of the descriptors’ ratings were performed. Of the 73 descriptors specified, two were dropped because of cultural bias and 24 were dropped because they were not rated by the experts as being associated with tactile defensiveness. This paper discusses the importance of the remaining list of 47 descriptors for subsequent research and delineates appropriate clinical use of those descriptors.

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