Informant discrepancies in the assessment of childhood psychopathology: a critical review, theoretical framework, and recommendations for further study

Psychol Bull. 2005 Jul;131(4):483-509. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.131.4.483.


Discrepancies often exist among different informants' (e.g., parents, children, teachers) ratings of child psychopathology. Informant discrepancies have an impact on the assessment, classification, and treatment of childhood psychopathology. Empirical work has identified informant characteristics that may influence informant discrepancies. Limitations of previous work include inconsistent measurement of informant discrepancies and, perhaps most importantly, the absence of a theoretical framework to guide research. In this article, the authors present a theoretical framework (the Attribution Bias Context Model) to guide research and theory examining informant discrepancies in the clinic setting. Needed directions for future research and theory include theoretically driven attention to conceptualizing informant discrepancies across informant pairs (e.g., parent-teacher, mother-father, parent-child, teacher-child) as well as developing experimental approaches to decrease informant discrepancies in the clinic setting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Planning Guidelines*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Theory*