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Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
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Background: We examined discrepant parent–child reports of subjective distress and psychosocial impairment.
Method: Parent–child pairs (N = 112 pairs) completed the Health Dynamics Inventory at intake for outpatient therapy.
Results: Average parent scores were significantly higher than average child scores on distress, impairment, and externalizing symptoms, but not internalizing symptoms. There were significant associations between parent–child discrepancy (i.e. children who reported greater distress or impairment than parents or vice versa) and child endorsement of several notable symptoms (rapid mood swings, panic, nightmares, and suicidal ideation).
Conclusion: Parents tended to report more externalizing symptoms, distress, and impairment than children reported; however, when children report more distress and impairment than parents, this may indicate serious psychological problems.