Background: The choice of informant is a critical piece in the identification of psychosocial problems in youth. While many behavioural measures have been adapted to include information from multiple sources, in the case of parents and youth, poor agreement has been found. Our study purpose was to identify youth and parent factors associated with whether the youth agrees with a positive parent-completed screen of youth psychosocial problems. Methods: Parents of youth aged 10-15 years who were seen for a medical visit at eight clinics completed the 17-item Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC-17). Youth scoring positive on the screen and their parents/guardians were interviewed by telephone after the visit (n=145). We conducted bivariate and multivariate analyses to identify parent characteristics and child factors associated with whether the youth agrees with the positive parent-completed screen. Results: Fifty percent of youth participants agreed with their parent on a positive parent-completed PSC-17 based on their completion of the Y-PSC-17 as a self-report measure. Youth who reported a positive Y-PSC-17 in agreement with their parent were twice as likely to meet diagnostic cut-offs on sub-scales of anxiety/depression and aggression on the Child Behaviour Checklist (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05 respectively), reported lower parent-child connectedness (P < 0.01) and their parents reported more anger/frustration (P < 0.05) than youth who disagreed with the positive parent-completed screen. Most of these associations remained significant when controlling for the other factors and demographic characteristics in multivariate analysis. Conclusions: Findings indicate that when the youth agrees with a positive parent-completed PSC-17, there is higher parent frustration, lower parent-child connectedness, and the youth is more likely to have a diagnosis of an emotional or behavioural disorder. Thus, when possible, the use of both parent and youth as informants provides necessary information in formulating a comprehensive treatment strategy to address the psychosocial needs of youth.
- Mental health
- Parent-youth agreement
- Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 (PSC-17)
- Psychosocial screening