Caregiver self-reports and reporting of their preschoolers' trauma exposure: Discordance across assessment methods
Nearly half of preschool-aged children from low-income families in the United States have been exposed to potentially traumatic events (PTEs), yet few are identified or receive trauma-focused mental health care. Given the critical need to accurately and efficiently identify PTE-exposed individuals, the current study examined discordant caregiver self-reporting of PTE exposure and caregiver reporting of child PTE exposure across two assessment methods: checklist and interview. Research has demonstrated significant cross-method discrepancies among adults reporting stressful life experiences, but examinations of caregiver reporting for their young children have not been conducted. Further, given their possible impact on reporting patterns, caregiver and child characteristics were examined in relation to discordant caregiver reporting by trauma type. Participants were 64 low-income, racially and ethnically diverse caregivers and their preschool-aged children from a northeastern U.S. city. Caregivers reported self and child PTE exposure via checklist and semistructured interview. Cross-method discordance for caregiver and child exposure by trauma type ranged from 10.9% to 46.9% (Cohen's κ = .06 -.70). Caregiver race and education were associated with discordant reporting, as were caregiver and child psychopathology. Lower levels of caregiver psychopathology were associated with discordant caregiver reporting of their own exposure, whereas higher levels were associated with discordant caregiver reporting of child exposure. Discordant caregiver reporting of PTE exposure varies by assessment format and trauma type and is differentially related to caregiver demographics and caregiver and child psychopathology. Associations between assessment methods, individual characteristics, and reporting should be considered when assessing PTE exposure to support service engagement and targeted treatment.
adverse childhood experiences, children, trauma assessment
Glackin, Erin B.; Forbes, Danielle; Heberle, Amy E.; Carter, Alice S.; and Gray, Sarah A.O., "Caregiver self-reports and reporting of their preschoolers' trauma exposure: Discordance across assessment methods" (2019). Psychology. 519.