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Effect of Caregiver Depressive Symptoms on the Concordance Between Caregiver and Youth Assessment of Youth Physical Health



To explore how caregivers’ (birth parents, adoptive parents, relative caregivers, and unrelated caregivers) depressive symptoms moderate the concordance between their and their youth’s assessment of the youth’s physical health symptoms, diseases, and physical health status.


Participants included 224 youth with mean age of 18.0 years (SD = 1.3) and their caregivers. Multiple-group models were run to test whether caregiver depression status moderated the concordance between youth and caregiver report of physical health outcomes. Models compared caregivers above the mean for depression in the sample (n = 62) with caregivers below the mean for depression in this sample (n = 128).


There was a strong correlation between youth and caregiver report of pain in the last 30 days and physical health status in the caregiver group with no/fewer depressive symptoms [r (128) = 0.29, p = 0.04; r (128) = 0.59, p < 0.01], but no significant correlation between the two in the caregiver group with higher depressive symptoms [r (62) =  − 0.27, p = 0.27; r (62) =  − 0.14, p = 0.57].

Conclusions for Practice

Higher caregiver depressive symptoms was associated with worse concordance between caregiver and youth assessment of the youth’s pain and physical health status. These two health issues are less visible and more subjective and communication between caregiver and youth may be affected by the caregiver’s depressive symptoms. Since both caregiver and youth assessments of a youth’s physical health provide the best clinical data, it may be helpful for health providers to assess caregiver’s mental health status to provide a more complete picture.

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This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [Grant Numbers R01HD39129 and R01DA024569].

Author information




JS: Conceptualization; Writing—original draft; Writing- review and editing. APM: Methodology, Formal analysis, Writing- review and editing. FM: Conceptualization; Investigation; Writing review and editing. SN: Methodology, Investigation; Data curation; Writing- review and editing.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Janet U. Schneiderman.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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University IRB and county juvenile court.

Informed Consent

Youth and caregivers signed an IRB approved consent.

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Schneiderman, J.U., Palmer Molina, A., Mennen, F.E. et al. Effect of Caregiver Depressive Symptoms on the Concordance Between Caregiver and Youth Assessment of Youth Physical Health. Matern Child Health J 25, 1814–1819 (2021).

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  • Concordance between parents and youth
  • Similarities and differences
  • Physical health
  • Moderation by parental depression