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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1997 Oct;25(5):389-98.

Test-retest reliability of maternal reports of lifetime mental disorders in their children.

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New York State Psychiatric Institute, Department of Clinical Psychology, New York 10032, USA.


This study examined the test-retest reliability of maternal reports of lifetime psychopathology using DSM-III-R criteria in nonreferred offspring. Sixty-three mothers reported on 79 children, ages 6 to 18 years. Retest intervals were between one and 12 months. The results indicated acceptable reliability for all supraordinate categories (any disorder, any anxiety disorder, any disruptive disorder, externalizing disorders, internalizing disorders) as well as for most individual diagnoses (separation anxiety disorder, simple phobias, oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit disorder with and without hyperactivity, simple phobias, and adjustment disorder). Maternal reports for any diagnosis were significantly better for intervals under 6 months than for longer retest intervals. Reliability of maternal reports was not significantly affected by child's age or gender. This study supports the expectation that a history of psychiatric disturbance in children can be obtained reliably from mothers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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