Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 971–982 | Cite as

Discrepancies Between Parent and Adolescent Beliefs About Daily Life Topics and Performance on an Emotion Recognition Task

  • Andres De Los ReyesEmail author
  • Matthew D. Lerner
  • Sarah A. Thomas
  • Samantha Daruwala
  • Katherine Goepel


Parents and children and adolescents commonly disagree in their perceptions of a variety of behaviors, including the family relationship and environment, and child and adolescent psychopathology. To this end, numerous studies have examined to what extent increased discrepant perceptions—particularly with regard to perceptions of the family relationship and environment—predict increased child and adolescent psychopathology. Parents’ and children and adolescents’ abilities to decode and identify others’ emotions (i.e., emotion recognition) may play a role in the link between discrepant perceptions and child and adolescent psychopathology. We examined parents’ and adolescents’ emotion recognition abilities in relation to discrepancies between parent and adolescent perceptions of daily life topics. In a sample of 50 parents and adolescents ages 14-to-17 years (M = 15.4 years, 20 males, 54 % African-American), parents and adolescents were each administered a widely used performance-based measure of emotion recognition. Parents and adolescents were also administered a structured interview designed to directly assess each of their perceptions of the extent to which discrepancies existed in their beliefs about daily life topics (e.g., whether adolescents should complete their homework and carry out household chores). Interestingly, lower parent and adolescent emotion recognition performance significantly related to greater parent and adolescent perceived discrepant beliefs about daily life topics. We observed this relation whilst accounting for adolescent age and gender and levels of parent-adolescent conflict. These findings have important implications for understanding and using informant discrepancies in both basic developmental psychopathology research and applied research in clinic settings (e.g., discrepant views on therapeutic goals).


Emotion recognition Informant disagreement Informant discrepancies Multiple informants Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test To(may)to-To(mah)to Interview 



This work was supported, in part, by an internal grant from the University of Maryland (College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Emerging Scholars Program), awarded to Andres De Los Reyes. This work was also partially supported by an NRSA Predoctoral Award to Sarah Thomas from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (F31-DA033913).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andres De Los Reyes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew D. Lerner
    • 2
  • Sarah A. Thomas
    • 1
  • Samantha Daruwala
    • 1
  • Katherine Goepel
    • 1
  1. 1.Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention Program, Department of PsychologyUniversity of Maryland at College ParkCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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