Send to

Choose Destination
J Behav Health Serv Res. 2006 Jan;33(1):87-104.

Through a mother's eyes: Sources of bias when mothers with co-occurring disorders assess their children.

Author information

Center for Research on Crime and Social Control (formerly Social Science Research Institute), Psychology Department, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0375, USA.


Mothers are the principal informants on children's emotional and behavioral functioning. Maternal assessments of child functioning can be influenced by a mother's own psychological state. The magnitude and valence of distortion in maternal assessments associated with current maternal mental health and substance abuse symptoms were explored in a clinical sample of 253 mothers with co-occurring disorders and histories of trauma. Analyses estimated the correlation between current maternal symptoms and child assessments after controlling for maternal history of disorders, child's history of service utilization for emotional and behavioral problems, and demographic characteristics. Current maternal psychological distress was associated with more pessimistic assessments on the problem-focused Child Behavior Checklist, whereas current maternal substance abuse problems were associated with more optimistic assessments on both problem-focused and strength-based measures. Clinicians and researchers may choose to take distortion into account when treatment plans or measures of change are based on maternal assessments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center