Comparison of father and mother report of child behaviour on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

Senior, Rob, Davé, Shreya, Nazareth, Irwin and Sherr, Lorraine (2008) Comparison of father and mother report of child behaviour on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 39 (4). pp. 399-413. ISSN ISSN 1573-3327 (Electronic) ; 0009-398X (Print)

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To date there has been no comparison of father and mother report on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), a standardised measure of child behaviour used widely in the UK in clinical practice and research. The objectives of the study were to investigate differences and agreement between parents on the various SDQ domains of child behaviour. Parents of 4-6 years olds were recruited via 13 UK general practices, and completed the SDQ and measures on depression, parenting, couple relationship, alcohol use and demographics. Parental SDQ ratings were compared. The SDQ was completed by 248 parent dyads. Mother and father ratings were correlated, however fathers reported higher mean scores than mothers for externalising behaviours. Higher reporting by fathers was related to alcohol misuse, the couple relationship, fathering, and father employment. Fathers did not report significantly more abnormal behaviours than mothers except for hyperactivity. There was high interparental agreement on normal/borderline behaviours (94.8-98.3% agreement), but lower agreement on abnormal behaviours (7.7-37.9%). There was higher interparental agreement on male rather than female children, but fathers were four times more likely to report hyperactivity among their boys compared with girls. Using combined parental reports in clinical settings would enhance the sensitivity of identifying children requiring clinical attention for their problem behaviours.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Research & Development Unit
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Behaviour Disorders
Families > Father Child Relations
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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