• parent–child agreement;
  • LITE;
  • trauma experience;
  • SESBiC study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the agreement between parent and child report of potential traumas experienced, to look at the agreement by interpersonal versus non-interpersonal traumas and by gender. A birth cohort of 1723 children and their parents was followed from three months until 12 years after birth (South East Sweden Birth Cohort (SESBiC) study). At 12-year follow-up, 1174 children, 875 mothers and 601 fathers completed the Life Incidence of Traumatic Events (LITE) questionnaire. Cohen's kappa was used to assess the agreement between parent and child reports of traumas experienced by the child. The group was split by gender and kappa statistics were computed to determine the level of agreement between the different informants. The sample was also analysed according to the nature of the traumatic event: interpersonal or non-interpersonal. Agreement was low across most types of traumas reported between parents and children and moderate between mothers and fathers. Agreement was lower when the trauma was interpersonal. No significant discrepancies in general were found on gender. The study highlights the importance of from whom the researcher collects information. In future research, it is important to study the significance the choice of information source might have on reported symptoms and behavioural problems. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

‘A birth cohort of 1723 children and their parents was followed from three months until 12 years after birth’

Key Practitioner Messages

  • For children and pre-adolescents, reliance on parents for emotional support and attention is necessary.
  • Parents need to recognise potential traumatic experiences in order for consultation or treatment to be obtained.
  • Lack of parental recognition of the traumas experienced by the child is likely to result in a failure to seek the intervention required and, consequently, to poorer outcomes for the child.
  • The importance of turning directly to the child for information is highlighted.