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BACKGROUND: Our objective was to determine levels of agreement between parents, teachers and children on mental symptoms in the children. Teachers, children and parents constitute the TRIAD in the perception of psychopathology in children. Analyzing the perceptions of psychopathology from the perspectives of parents, teachers, and children is essential for a comprehensive understanding of a child's mental health. METHODS: We identified 195 participants across ten randomly sampled primary schools in South East Kenya. Potential participants were randomly selected and a sampling interval calculated to determine the study participants. The children (Class 5-8; aged 11-14) completed the Youth Self-Report (YSR) scale, the parents the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) on their children and the teachers completed the Teachers Rating Form (TRF) on the children. Only parents and teachers who gave consent as well as children who gave assent were included in the study. Analysis was conducted using Stata 14.1 and Pearson correlation coefficients used to calculate the correlations between CBCL, YSR and TRF. RESULTS: The children agreed least with the parents and more with the teachers. There was a greater agreement between the children and their teachers in 5 (2 internalizing disorders and 3 externalizing disorders) out of the 8 conditions. Children and parents agreed only on somatic disorders and conduct disorders. YSR mean scores were significantly lower than those for CBCL for all problem scales. Mean scores of TRF and YSR were comparable in the majority of the problems measured. CONCLUSION: We suggest broad-based psychoeducation to include children, parents/guardians and teachers to enhance shared awareness of psychopathology and uptake of treatment and for the consideration of an integrated mental health system.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Psychiatry

Publication Date





Children, Parents, Psychopathology, TRIAD, Teachers, Child, Adolescent, Humans, Kenya, Cross-Sectional Studies, Psychopathology, Conduct Disorder, Parents, Child Behavior Disorders