Parental agreement of reporting parent to child aggression using the Conflict Tactics Scales.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


This study examined mothers' and fathers' reporting congruency using the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales. We asked if the mother's report of the father's parenting aggression was consistent with the father's self-report of parenting aggression and if the father's report of the mother's parenting aggression was consistent with the mother's self- report of those same behaviors. We assessed moderators of parental reporting congruency: severity of the aggression, interparental conflict, child temperament, and child gender.


Participants were from the Child Development Project, a longitudinal study beginning when children were in kindergarten. The analyses herein included 163 children for whom 2 parents provided data about their own and their spouse or partner's behavior toward the child. Most parents (87%) were married. Mothers and fathers independently completed the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale, both with respect to their own behavior toward the child and with respect to their partner's behavior toward the child. Mothers completed the retrospective Infant Characteristics Questionnaire to assess child temperament. Mothers and fathers completed measures of interparental conflict.


Both fathers and mothers self-reported more frequently engaging in each behavior than the other parent reported they did. Parents were more congruent on items assessing harsher parenting behavior. Furthermore, there was more agreement between parents regarding fathers' behavior than mothers' behavior. Analyses of interparental conflict, child difficult temperament, and child gender as moderators yielded findings suggesting that mothers' and fathers' reports of their own and their spouses' harsh parenting behaviors were more concordant in couples with low levels of conflict, for children with easy temperaments, and for boys versus girls.


Prior studies indicate only a moderate level of agreement in couples' reports of violence between intimate partners and suggest that perpetrators tend to underreport their use of aggression. The results of this study suggest that parents may be more consistent in their reports of parent to child violence using the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales than they are when reporting intimate partner violence. The results suggest that parental reports of their spouse's parent to child aggression are reliable.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lee, SJ; Lansford, JE; Pettit, GS; Bates, JE; Dodge, KA

Published Date

  • June 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 36 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 510 - 518

PubMed ID

  • 22763358

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22763358

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-7757

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0145-2134

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.04.005


  • eng