Parent and Teacher Rating Scales
It has long been recognized that children are often less-than-accurate reporters of their own behavior. Furthermore, children may not have sufficient reading or oral expression skills for self-report purposes (Lachar, 1990). Problems with underreporting and response sets have always been well-recognized by clinicians and, to some extent, have been documented by research (see previous chapter). These concerns about child self-reports have undoubtedly contributed to the popularity of parent rating scales. Furthermore, the parental perspective is often invaluable when conceptualizing a case; that is, because children are often referred for an evaluation because of a parent’s concerns, information on the parent’s perspective of a child’s problems is critical.
Parent ratings of child behavior possess additional advantages, including brevity and cost efficiency (Hart & Lahey, 1999). The time-efficient nature of parent ratings makes it easy to collect additional information about child behavior. Given the importance of parental influence on child behavior, parental perceptions of behavior should routinely be collected in clinical assessments.