Correlation and agreement between depressive symptoms in children and their parent’s perception

José Luis Ramírez-GarcíaLuna, Paola Araiza-Alba, Sandra Guadalupe Martínez-Aguiñaga, Héctor Rojas-Calderón, María Mercedes Pérez-Betancourt




Introduction. Childhood depression is a disease that is becoming more frequent. Few reports address parental perception of children depressive symptoms, and these studies have not been carried out in community samples.

Objective. To evaluate the correlation and agreement of depressive symptoms in school-age children, and their parent’s perception about emotional and conduct abnormalities.

Method. A transversal study was performed in 284 children who filled a Children Depression Inventory. One of their parents filled a Strengths and Difficulty Questionnaire, and correlation between scores and subcomponent scores were assessed. Agreement between presence of depressive symptoms in children and their parent’s perception of abnormal emotional and/or conduct reports was also obtained.

Results. 47 children were identified with depressive symptoms. We found moderate correlation between scores. We did not find agreement between the presence of depressive symptoms in the children and the report of emotional and conduct abnormalities by parents.

Discussion and conclusion. There is a modest correlation between depressive symptom severity and parental perception of abnormal emotions and/or behaviors. We found no evidence of agreement between these domains in our study, which suggests that parents fail to perceive negative emotions or conducts as depressive symptoms in their children. Parental reports should be addressed by healthcare workers, and their emotional significance should be interpreted. An intentional search of depressive symptomatology in children should be a priority.


Depressive symptoms; behavioral symptoms; problem behavior; psychometrics; childhood depression

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