Self versus maternal reports of emotional and behavioral difficulties in suicidal and non-suicidal adolescents: An Israeli nationwide survey

G. Shoval, I. Mansbach-Kleinfeld, I. Farbstein, R. Kanaaneh, G. Lubin, A. Apter, A. Weizman, G. Zalsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


There is relatively little research addressing parent-adolescent agreement as regards to reporting on adolescent suicidal behavior in general and their behavioral and emotional difficulties in particular. The objective of this study was to compare maternal and adolescents' reports on behavioral and emotional difficulties among adolescents with and without suicidal behavior. This nationally-representative sample included 906 adolescents and their mothers. The mothers and adolescents were interviewed and evaluated separately using the Development and Well-Being Assessment Inventory (DAWBA) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Self-rated SDQ scores of the suicidal adolescents were significantly higher in all SDQ problem scales compared to the non-suicidal participants. In contrast, maternal-rated SDQ assessments failed to discriminate between these groups, except the Hyperactivity scale. We demonstrated that mothers of suicidal adolescents in the community hardly recognize the emotional and behavioral difficulties of their offsprings. Conclusion: The mental examination of the adolescent patient should be maintained as the central and most reliable source of information regarding the suicidal adolescent. Mental health services planning of national suicide prevention programs should take into account these poor mother-adolescent agreement findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-239
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This survey was supported by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy and Health Services Research (No. 25/2000), the Association for Planning and Development of Services for Children and Youth at Risk and Their Families (ASHALIM), the Englander Center for Children and Youth of the Brookdale Institute, and the Rotter Foundation of the Maccabi Health Services, Israel. The authors also wish to acknowledge the contribution of Itzhak Levav, MD, MSc, and Daphna Levinson, PhD, in the planning and execution of this project. The Judie and Marshall Polk Research Fund for Children at Risk (GZ) partially supported the analysis in this paper.


  • Adolescent
  • Attempted
  • Epidemiology
  • Parents
  • SDQ
  • Suicide


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