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19-10-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2020

Cross-Informant Discrepancies and their Association with Maternal Depression, Maternal Parenting Stress, and Mother-Child Relationship

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2020
Auteurs:
Arnold Lohaus, Jana-Elisa Rueth, Marc Vierhaus
Belangrijke opmerkingen
These authors contributed equally: Jana-Elisa Rueth, Marc Vierhaus
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Objectives

Children and adolescents, and their parents, often provide divergent assessments with regard to children’s and adolescents’ mental health. This paper addresses influential factors regarding discrepancies between mothers’ and children’s/adolescents’ reports on externalizing and internalizing problem behavior. The focus is on maternal characteristics (maternal depression, maternal parenting stress, and maternal perception of the relationship to their child) that may contribute to the emergence of discrepancies.

Methods

An empirical study with 1601 children and adolescents between the ages of 10 to 16 years, and 1119 mothers, was conducted addressing temporal relationships between maternal characteristics and informant discrepancies, with repeated assessments after 6 months.

Results

Based on polynomial regression, maternal parenting stress and negatively evaluated mother–child relationships proved to be the most important influential variables on the emergence of informant discrepancies. In addition, the results provided evidence for bidirectional influences between informant discrepancies and maternal characteristics (especially maternal depression and negative evaluations of the mother–child relationship). All significant relationships to maternal characteristics were restricted to externalizing behavior.

Conclusions

Findings suggest that specific maternal characteristics, which might influence maternal interpretations, explain the occurrence of informant discrepancies regarding externalizing problems. Conversely, informant discrepancies regarding externalizing problems predicted maternal characteristics. Accordingly, a reciprocal relationship between informant discrepancies and maternal characteristics seems likely and should be the subject to future research.

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