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Discrepancies in Reporting of Behavior Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Contribution of Child, Parent and Teacher Characteristics


Despite the high rates of both internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in children with ASD (Simonoff et al., 2008; van der Meer et al., 2012), there are frequently inconsistencies between informants on behavioral rating scales, particularly when rating internalizing behavior (De Los Reyes et al., 2015; Stratis & Lecavalier, 2015). Discrepancies between raters can hinder treatment, as children, parents, and teachers frequently fail to agree on the target problem, making it difficult for all informants participating in treatment to work together to mitigate the problem (De Los Reyes & Kazdin, 2005). The aims of the current study are to examine discrepancies between parent and teacher ratings of behavior over time in a sample of young children with ASD, and to identify parent, child, and teacher characteristics associated with informant discrepancies. Participants in this study included 180 children with ASD ages 4 to 8 years old and their parents and teachers. Internalizing and externalizing behavior problems were measured using parent and teacher report on the Child Behavior Checklist and the corresponding Teacher Report Form (CBCL and TRF; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). Latent growth modeling was used to examine developmental trajectories of parent and teacher ratings of child behavior, as well as to examine informant discrepancies across time. The results indicate that, on average, parents tend to rate more problem behaviors, particularly internalizing behaviors. No significant change in parent-teacher discrepancies were found across time. The magnitude of parent-teacher discrepancies in behavior ratings as well as child, parent, and teacher characteristics which predict the discrepancies were also examined. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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