Differences and similarities between children, mothers, and teachers as informants on disruptive child behavior

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1991 Feb;19(1):75-95. doi: 10.1007/BF00910566.


Prevalence rates of disruptive child behaviors, based on structured psychiatric interviews, are presented for samples of clinic-referred prepubertal boys at two sites to investigate differences and similarities among reports of the behaviors from children, parents, and teachers. Children reported significantly less hyperactive/inattentive and oppositional behaviors than either parents or teachers. In contrast, children did not differ from parents or teachers in their report on the prevalence of more serious conduct problems. These results were well replicated across two sites, despite the fact that there were significant differences between the sites in the level of hyperactive/inattentive child behaviors and conduct problems. The ranking of parents' and teachers' reported prevalence of specific child behavior problems in each of the three domains of disruptive behavior was strikingly similar. With one exception, the concordance between the prevalence ranking based on the children's reports was lower than that based on adults' reports, Children's reports on their own behavior did not predict various child handicaps 1 year later as well as did adults' reports. The results are discussed in relation to the usefulness of certain child behaviors in symptom lists for diagnostic purposes; the reliability of children's reports on their own behavior; and the possible reasons why prevalence rankings, as perceived by adults, are so similar.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Attitude*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Development
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Environment*