, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 531-546

Differential predictive value of parents' and teachers' reports of children's problem behaviors: A longitudinal study

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This study investigated the prediction of signs of disturbance in 946 children originally aged 4 to 11 years from the general population across a 6-year period. Parents' and teachers' ratings obtained via the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Teacher's Report Form (TRF) were tested as predictors of (a) academic problems, (b) school behavior problems, (c) receipt of mental health services, (d) child's need for professional help, (e) suicidal behavior, and (f) police contacts. Total problem scores in the deviant range on the CBCL or TRF were significantly associated with poor outcomes 6 years later. The combination of deviant scores on both the CBCL and TRF was a powerful predictor of poor outcomes with 56% of the girls, and 36% of the boys with total problem scores in the deviant range on both instruments maladjusted 6 years later. The CBCL syndromes Attention Problems and Delinquent Behavior, and the TRF syndromes Delinquent Behavior, Somatic Complaints, and Social Problems significantly predicted poor outcomes. Teachers' reports predicted poor outcomes equally well or even somewhat better than parents' reports. It is important to include teacher information in the diagnostic assessment of children.