This study examined parent-observer discrepancies in assessments of negative child behavior and negative parenting behavior to shed more light on correlates with these discrepancies. Specifically, we hypothesized that informant discrepancy between observers and parents on child behavior would be larger when parents reported high levels of negative parenting (and vice versa) because high levels of these behaviors might be indicators of negative perceiver bias or patterns of family dysfunctioning. Using restricted correlated trait–models, we analyzed cross-sectional observation (coded with the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System) and survey data (Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory and Parenting Practices Interview) of 386 Dutch parentchild dyads with children aged 4–8 years (Mage = 6.21, SD = 1.33; 55.30% boys). Small associations between parent-reported and observed child and parenting behavior were found, indicating high discrepancy. In line with our hypothesis, this discrepancy was higher when parents self-reported more negative parenting or more negative child behavior. Parent-observer discrepancy on negative child behavior was also predicted by child gender. For boys parents reported higher levels of negative child behavior than were observed, but for girls parents reported lower levels of negative child behavior than were observed. These findings suggest that informant discrepancies between observers and parents might provide important information on underlying, problematic family functioning and may help to identify those families most in need of help.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Childhood . Externalizing problems . Multi-informant discrepancies . Parenting
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10802-017-0381-7, hdl.handle.net/1765/122506
Journal Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Citation
Moens, M.A, Weeland, J, Van der Giessen, D, Chhangur, R.R, & Overbeek, G.J. (2018). In the Eye of the Beholder?. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. doi:10.1007/s10802-017-0381-7