Comparing Korean Immigrant Mothers’ and Fathers’ Perceptions of Their Child’s Behavioral Strengths and Difficulties

Boram Lee


Background: Parents’ ratings of their children’s emotional and sociobehavioral problems are usually assessed through the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), an international standardized measure of child behavior that is widely used in practice and research. This study aimed to explore differences and agreements between parents on SDQ domains of child behavioral strengths and difficulties.

Methods: The sample consisted of 136 Korean immigrant parents in New Zealand, whose children were 6 to 10 years old. The parents completed the Korean version of the SDQ. The resulting data were subjected to a one-way, between-groups multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), Spearman’s correlation analyses, and a series of paired samples t-tests.

Results: Although mothers and fathers did not significantly differ in their ratings of internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems in their children, mothers reported comparatively higher scores than fathers for prosocial behaviors in their children. The level of agreement between mothers’ and fathers’ reports was low to moderate for the SDQ.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that when the SDQ is used to evaluate the emotional and behavioral function and adjustment of a school-aged child in research, information obtained from both mothers and fathers are unlikely to vary, and the self-reported data will have at least a moderate concurrence.

Keywords: child behavior, Korean immigrant parents, parent report, parental perceptions, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)