Parent vs. self-report: Contributions toward diagnosis of adolescent psychopathology

Tana L. Hope, Christina Adams, Larissa Reynolds, Denise Powers, Rose Ann Perez, Mary Lou Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Assessment of psychopathology in adolescents can be complicated due to uncertainties about who should be considered the primary informant. While a multimethod, multiinformant approach to assessment allows for a thorough assessment, it can also result in contradictory findings. The purpose of this study was to use a sample of 121 adolescents to investigate issues of parent- adolescent agreement on behavior rating scales and a structured diagnostic interview. Additionally, this study evaluated whether adolescent report offers unique information to the assessment beyond the parent's report. The sample included both normal controls and adolescents who met criteria for diagnosis of an Internalizing or Externalizing disorder based on the DSM-IV criteria. Agreement between parents and adolescents on the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents - Revised (DICA-R) was low for ADHD (39.4%) and Externalizing Disorders (41.1%) and moderate for Internalizing Disorders (56.6%). A significant difference was found between the number of ADHD symptoms reported, with parents reporting more symptoms (M = 9.42) than adolescents (M = 8.34). Regression analysis indicated that the adolescent completed Youth Self-report (YSR) contributed unique information beyond the parent completed measures in predicting both the adolescent and the parent interviews for Internalizing Disorders. This finding emphasizes the need to continue to collect self-report information, especially when assessing Internalizing disorders, which inherently contain symptoms indicating high- risk behaviors such as suicide ideation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-363
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Agreement
  • Internalizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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