Parent–Child Informant Discrepancy is Associated with Poorer Treatment Outcome

Julia Goolsby, Brendan A. Rich*, Benjamin Hinnant, Serene Habayeb, Lisa Berghorst, Andres de Los Reyes, Mary K. Alvord

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In child clinical psychology, parent and child reports are typically used to make treatment decisions and determine the effectiveness of treatment. However, there are often moderate to large discrepancies between parent and child reports, and these discrepancies may reflect meaningful information about the parent, the child, and the parent–child relationship. Additionally, parent–child discrepancy may predict treatment outcome. This study examined parent–child discrepancy in a sample of 62 children (10.15±1.26 years old) with prominent social competence deficits and mixed diagnoses who were treated with a resilience-based, cognitive–behavioral group therapy program (the Resilience Builder Program) in a private clinical setting. Further analyses were conducted to investigate whether parent–child discrepancy related to treatment outcome. Consistent with the literature, prominent parent–child discrepancy was found across domains, with parents generally reporting more severe symptomatology. Treatment with the Resilience Builder Program resulted in significant improvement in parent report of multiple domains of functioning, including resilience, social skills, and emotion and behavior regulation. Importantly, larger parent–child discrepancy at the start of therapy was predictive of poorer overall treatment response. Given its impact on therapeutic effectiveness, these results suggest that parent–child disagreement regarding the child’s impairment at the onset of therapy is worthy of assessment prior to treatment, and may itself be a topic worthy of targeting in treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1228-1241
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Group Therapy
  • Informant Discrepancy
  • Parent–Child Discrepancy
  • Resilience
  • Treatment Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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