Evaluations of the well-being of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) typically rely on parents as proxy respondents. An assumption of several studies appears to be that mothers' and fathers' ratings are interchangeable, as reports do not always specify which parent completed the assessments nor, in repeated measures, whether they were completed by the same parent. The aim of this study was to examine the level of agreement between mothers' and fathers' ratings of their child's quality of life (QOL) and to identify possible predictors of disagreement.


Mothers and fathers (n = 82) of children with JIA completed ratings of their child's symptoms, QOL, and measures of their mood and beliefs about their child's illness and treatment. The number of active and limited joints and the physician's global assessment were also recorded.


Intraclass correlation coefficients between mothers' and fathers' ratings of physical and psychosocial QOL were high (0.824 and 0.755, respectively). However, calculation of difference scores revealed that 70.6% and 65.9%, respectively, were classified as discordant. Where parents differed, the direction of difference was not systematic. Discordance in parents' mood states and in their illness and treatment beliefs explained a small amount of the variance in discordance in QOL.


It should not be assumed that proxy ratings of a child's well-being can be generalized from one parent to the other. Studies that take repeated assessments should ensure that the same parent completes assessments at all time points. Other factors that may explain discordance between parents' ratings need to be explored.