Assessment of anxiety disorders in children is a difficult process and requires the use of multiple resources of information. Such resources may come from children, parents, and educators and they also require the use of multiple types of diagnostic tools, like structured and semi-structured clinical interviews, as well as self-report questionnaires. Previous research shows that anxiety symptoms ratings of different informants are to some degree correlated (low to moderate agreement) but nonetheless also often show clear discrepancies. Important variables may affect the degree of child-parent agreement. The present study focused on child’s gender and age possible impact. The aim of the present study was to examine the agreement between children’s and parents’ reports on self-reported questionnaires for anxiety symptoms. 431 children from 4th to 6th grade of elementary school and their parents participated in the study. 190 were boys and 241 were girls. Both children and their parents responded to Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS) (child’s and parent’s version correspondingly). Relations between children’s and parents’ reports concerning anxiety symptoms were examined by calculation Pearson's correlation coefficients. The results showed that there was a medium but statistically important positive correlation between children’s and parents’ reports on SCAS total score (r=0.50, p<0.01). Concerning SCAS subscales results supported that higher correlations were those reported for Separation Anxiety (r=0.53, p<0.01) and Fear of Physical Injury (r=0.55, p<0.01). Concerning gender differences the present study found that correlation coefficients for girls were higher than for boys in SCAS total score (r=0.57 and r=0.39 correspondingly, p<0.01). Correlations according to age showed that the highest correlation coefficients were found in comparatively older children (r=0.34, r=0.54 και r=0.63, p<0.01 for 4th, 5th and 6th Grade). The latter underlies that in the process of assessing and diagnosing anxiety disorders in children, it is both necessary and important to gather information from multiple sources, especially in cases of younger children.

Key words: Anxiety, child, parents, assessment, interrater agreement.

O. Zikopoulou, K. Kakaniari, G. Simos (page 39)


Full Article in pdf