Citation: Robinson M, Doherty DA, Cannon J, Hickey M, Rosenthal SR, Marino JL, Skinner SR. 2019. Comparing adolescent and parent report of externalizing problems: A longitudinal population-based study. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 37(2):247-68. DOI: 10.1111/bjdp.12270. PMID: 30394545.



Adolescent and parent reports of adolescent mental health problems often correlate poorly, and understanding this discrepancy has clinical importance. Yet contextual factors have only been inconsistently explained.

At the 14? and 17?year follow?ups of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, 1,596 parent–child dyads completed the parent?reported Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and the adolescent?rated Youth Self?Report (YSR). Maternal, family, adolescent, and parent factors were examined as potential predictors of discrepancies. When adolescent YSR scores were in the clinical range but parents’ CBCL ratings were not, adolescents were more likely to report alcohol intoxication in the last 6 months, illicit drug use, low school motivation, and depression. When parents reported externalizing behaviour in the clinical range but adolescents did not, the characteristics associated with this were a younger maternal age, receiving social security benefit, stress related to parenting, depression, and poor family functioning.

These new results will inform clinical management and research with adolescents who present with behavioural disorders.

About The Authors


Dr Jennifer Marino is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at th...


Rachel Skinner is Professor in Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney, Adolescent P...