Parent and child agreement for acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychopathology in a prospective study of children and adolescents exposed to single-event trauma

R. Meiser-Stedman, P. Smith, E. Glucksman, W. Yule, T. Dalgleish

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Examining parent-child agreement for Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents is essential for informing the assessment of trauma-exposed children, yet no studies have examined this relationship using appropriate statistical techniques. Parent-child agreement for these disorders was examined by structured interview in a prospective study of assault and motor vehicle accident (MVA) child survivors, assessed at 2-4 weeks and 6 months post-trauma. Children were significantly more likely to meet criteria for ASD, as well as other ASD and PTSD symptom clusters, based on their own report than on their parent's report. Parent-child agreement for ASD was poor (Cohen's κ = -.04), but fair for PTSD (Cohen's κ = .21). Agreement ranged widely for other emotional disorders (Cohen's κ = -.07-.64), with generalised anxiety disorder found to have superior parent-child agreement (when assessed by phi coefficients) relative to ASD and PTSD. The findings support the need to directly interview children and adolescents, particularly for the early screening of posttraumatic stress, and suggest that other anxiety disorders may have a clearer presentation post-trauma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007

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