Parent-child agreement on reports of child internalizing and externalizing symptoms: Family processes in the context of child sexual abuse



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The present study examined parent-child agreement on reports of child psychological symptoms after the disclosure of sexual abuse in a sample of 98 child survivors of sexual abuse, ages 8-12 years, referred for clinical treatment. Independent paired t-tests showed parents reported more internalizing (i.e., anxiety, depression) and externalizing (i.e., anger/aggression) symptoms than their children. Latent congruency modeling showed that family conflict moderated parent and child reports of the child’s anger/aggression such that children reported more of these symptoms when family conflict was high. Additionally, parents reported more anger/aggression symptoms for girls than boys when family conflict was high. Children reported more anxiety symptoms than their parents when non-supportive disclosure was high, with girls reporting more anxiety symptoms than boys. The information provided in this study may help to inform the training process for children’s advocacy centers in providing more effective advocacy, medical evaluation and treatment, and therapeutic intervention for child survivors of sexual abuse and their families.



Child sexual abuse, Parent-child agreement, Internalizing, Externalizing, Latent congruency modeling