Factors influencing mother-child reports of depressive symptoms and agreement among clinically referred depressedyoungsters in Hungary

Eniko Kiss, Amy M. Gentzler, Charles George, Krisztina Kapornai, Zsuzsanna Tamás, Maria Kovacs, Ágnes Vetró

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Psychiatric assessments of children typically involve two informants, the child and the parent. Understanding discordance in their reports has been of interest to clinicians and researchers. We examine differences between mothers' and children's report of children's depressive symptom severity, and factors that may influence their reports and level of agreement. We hypothesized that agreement between mother and child would improve if (1) the mother is depressed, due to improved recall of mood congruent symptoms, (2) the child is older, due to better social-cognitive and communication skills, and (3) the child is a female. Methods: Subjects were 354 children (158 girls; mean age 11.69 years, SD: 2.05 years) with Major Depressive Disorder. Depressive symptoms were evaluated by a semi-structured interview separately with the mother and the child. Agreement on symptom severity was based on concordance of the presence and extent of symptoms. Results: Maternal reports were significantly higher than their son's but not daughters'. Girls, particularly with increasing age, reported higher levels of symptoms; however mothers' reports were not affected by child sex or age. Maternal depression predicted more severe symptom reports for both children and mothers. Agreement between the mother and the child increased as children got older. Limitations: The same clinician interviewed the mother and the child, which might inflate rates of agreement. However, this method mirrors clinical evaluation. Conclusion: During a clinical interview one must consider the age and sex of the child and the depressive state of the mother in assimilating information about the child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2007



  • Age
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Maternal depression
  • Mother-child agreement
  • Sex of child

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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