Assessment of maternally reported life events in children and adolescents: a comparison of interview and checklist methods

Jennifer L. Allen*, Ronald M. Rapee, Seija Sandberg

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    This study compared the number and impact of maternally reported life events experienced by children assessed using interview and checklist approaches. Psychometric properties of a new checklist measure were also examined. Participants were 80 children aged 7 to 16 years recruited from the general community. Mothers completed an interview, the Psychosocial Assessment of Child Experiences (PACE; Sandberg et al. (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 34(6): 879-897, 1993)) and the Child and Adolescent Survey of Experiences (CASE), a checklist derived from PACE and featuring parent and child self-report versions. PACE and CASE assessed a similar number of negative life events, however CASE assessed more positive life events. The two measures showed fair to substantial agreement for the number and perceived impact of life events. Both PACE and CASE detected significant associations between negative, but not positive life events and child psychopathology. An evaluation of the psychometric properties of CASE revealed that mother-child agreement was good for the overall number of life events, with agreement ranging from poor to substantial for specific life events. CASE demonstrated good one-week retest reliability; however younger children were less reliable reporters of life events than adolescents. Findings are discussed in terms of the relative utility of the two assessment methods for research and clinical practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)204-215
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


    • life events
    • assessment
    • checklist
    • stress
    • children


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