Objective To evaluate discrepancies between parent and child reports on youth’s emotional and behavioural problems in a representative, community based sample of Greek 18-year-olds, and to identify associated factors.
Methods A total of 2927 completed pairs of parent–child questionnaires were studied, including the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Youth Self-Report (YSR). Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to identify both child and parental factors significantly associated with overestimation and underestimation of scores for youth’s on the Internalizing, Externalizing and Total problems scales, compared to parent–youth agreement on the above scale scores.
Results Although there was a strong correlation between scores on the YSR and CBCL corresponding scales, parents were more likely to underestimate their youths’ problems when the latter: were girls, had a good academic performance, were dissatisfied from their self-image or their lives in general, and overvalued sexual activity. Parental factors that were likely to bring about the same outcome were: having many children, mothers working outside home, and lack of awareness of child’s leisure activities. On the contrary, maternal stress and low paternal education were significantly associated with overestimation of youths’ delinquent behaviour.
Conclusion The associations found highlight the contributions of both parents and children to the discrepancies on emotional and behavioural problems in adolescence. This study may facilitate constructive parenting practices through generations.