Item-Level Discordance in Parent and Adolescent Reports of Parenting Behavior and Its Implications for Adolescents' Mental Health and Relationships with Their Parents

Laura K. Maurizi, Elizabeth T. Gershoff, J. Lawrence Aber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The phenomenon of discordance between parents' and children's ratings of the child's mental health symptoms or of parenting behavior until recently has been treated as a problem of reliability. More recent work has sought to identify factors that may influence discordance, yet much remains to be learned about why informants' ratings of developmental phenomena are discordant and the meaning of such discordance. This study examined the extent to which discordance can be treated as a measure of the difference between two equally valid perceptions, and as such an indicator of the quality of the parent-adolescent relationship. One category of concordance and three patterns of discordance were derived from item-level differences in ratings of affection, control, and punitiveness provided by a diverse sample (53% female; 46% Hispanic-American, 35% African-American, 15% European-American, 4% another race/ethnicity) of 484 adolescents aged 12-20 years (M = 15. 67, SD = 1. 72) and their parents. Over and above adolescents' and parents' independent ratings of parenting, the discordance between these ratings was found to predict adolescent reports of anxiety and conduct disorder symptoms, as well as the quality of the parent-adolescent relationship. This was particularly true when adolescents and parents were discordant in their ratings of affection and when adolescents rated their parents higher on affection than did parents themselves. Implications of these findings and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1052
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume41
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Concordance
  • Informant discrepancies
  • Mental health
  • Parent-child relationship
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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