Main author: Guðlaug Marion Mitchison
Institution or Company: University of Iceland
Co-Authors, Institution or Company:
Juliette Liber, Utrecht University. Dagmar Kr. Hannesdóttir, Center of Child Development and Behavior. Urður Njarðvík, University of Iceland.
Introduction: Multi-informant assessment is the most widely used approach when evaluating psychopathology in children. This approach is considered valuable as each informant may provide useful information about the child in diverse surroundings. However, inconsistencies in reports from multiple individuals about the same child, known as informant discrepancies, are common. Even though considerable research on this topic is available, there is a lack of studies evaluating such discrepancies for ODD symptoms, emotion dysregulation and peer problems.
Method: We assessed informant discrepancies for two separate dimensions of ODD (irritability/mood related symptoms and defiant behavior/vindictiveness), peer problems, as well as two aspects of emotion dysregulation (emotion regulation and lability/negativity). Parents and teachers of 5-7-year-old children (43.2% girls and 56.8% boys) completed the Emotion Regulation Checklist, the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale and the peer problems subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
Results: The results indicate relatively prominent informant discrepancies between parents and teachers (ICC´s=.15-.57), but better agreement was found among preschool and elementary school teachers (ICC´s =.41-.75). Informant discrepancies were overall more evident for defiant behavior/vindictiveness and emotion regulation and more apparent in preschool compared to elementary school. Informant discrepancies were more noticeable for girls compared to boys.
Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of considering informant discrepancies when conducting multi-informant assessment on young children.