Discrepancies between mother and father ratings of child behavior after early mild traumatic brain injury
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Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) are highly prevalent during early childhood and can lead to behavioral difficulties. Parent report questionnaires are widely used to assess children's behavior, but they are subject to parental bias. The aim of this study was to investigate parental discrepancies in internalized and externalized behavior ratings of children who sustain mTBI in early childhood (i.e., between 18 and 60 months) and to determine if parenting stress or family burden related to the injury contribute to parental discrepancies. Mothers and fathers of 85 children with mTBI, 58 orthopedic injured (OI), and 82 typically developing children (TDC) completed the Child Behavior Checklist 6 months after the injury. The primary caregiver completed the Parental Distress subscale of the Parenting Stress Index and the Family Burden of Injury Interview. Mothers reported more internalized and externalized behavior problems than fathers in the mTBI group. No group difference was found in the OI or TDC groups. Neither parenting stress nor family burden related to the injury predicted discrepancies in behavior ratings. Mothers' and fathers' perceptions of behavior after their young child sustains mTBI appear to differ, suggesting that both parents' views are useful in understanding outcome. This difference was not found in either of the comparison groups indicating that factors related to mTBI may underlie the rating discrepancies.
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