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Parent–child concordance in reporting of child eating disorder pathology as assessed by the eating disorder examination

Mariano, P., Watson, H., Leach, D.J., McCormack, J. and Forbes, D. A. (2013) Parent–child concordance in reporting of child eating disorder pathology as assessed by the eating disorder examination. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46 (6). pp. 617-625.

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The aim of this study was to examine parent–youth concordance in reporting of eating disorder pathology, as assessed by the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) in a clinical pediatric sample.

The sample comprised 619 parent-youth dyads of youth (8–18 years) presenting for treatment at a specialist eating disorder clinic. A cross-sectional correlational design was used to examine the association between parent and youth symptom reports.
On the whole, parent–youth inter-rater agreement was poor to moderate. Agreement was acceptable for the presence of behavioral symptoms, with the exception of excessive exercise (PAK = 0.48–0.98). There was poor inter-rater agreement on frequency of behavioral symptoms, with parents providing lower estimates than youth (ICC = 0.07–0.52). Although we predicted that inter-rater agreement on cognitive symptoms would by higher with adolescents than children, both groups were discordant with parent reports. Younger children identified less severe eating disorder cognitions than parents and the opposite occurred for adolescents. An anorexia nervosa presentation and lower malnutrition were not associated with lower inter-rater agreement, as might have been expected through ego syntonicity. Youth with bulimia nervosa presentations reported significantly higher severity of cognitive symptoms and more frequent disordered eating behaviors compared with their parents.

Results support the utility of parent–youth assessment via the EDE to obtain a wider clinical picture of eating disorder psychopathology in children and adolescents, particularly for younger children. Clinical implications pertinent to administration of the EDE and parent literacy regarding eating disorder symptoms are discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: Wiley
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