Why are we here at the clinic? Parent-child (dis)agreement on referral problems at outpatient treatment entry

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2001 Dec;69(6):1018-25. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.69.6.1018.


Do clinic-referred children and their parents agree on the problems for which treatment is undertaken? The authors asked 381 outpatient-clinic-referred children and their parents to list, independently, the child's target problems. Of the parent-child pairs, 63% failed to agree on even a single problem. When problems were grouped into broad categories (e.g., delinquent, withdrawn), more than a third of the pairs still failed to agree on a single broad problem area. Parent-child agreement was higher for externalizing than for internalizing problem categories (though poor for both). Low parent-child agreement may help explain the poor outcomes often reported for clinic-based child therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Referral and Consultation*