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Agreement and discrepancy between children, parents, and social workers on school‐based effort avoidance in child welfare services

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Child & Family Social Work

Published online on


A multiperspective approach is beneficial for obtaining reliable and multifaceted pictures of child behaviour problems. The goal of the present study is to examine interrater agreement on school‐based effort avoidance between children receiving child welfare services, parents, and social workers. Given previous findings, interrater agreement is expected to be low. Self‐reported data on school‐based effort avoidance were gathered for children and adolescents in child welfare services. Additionally, social workers (using the Teacher‐Report Checklist for social and learning behaviour) and parents (using the parallel version of the self‐rating questionnaire on school‐based effort avoidance) were asked to complete an external assessment tool to compare children's perspectives with the ratings of significant adults. The results confirmed significant discrepancies between parents' and children's ratings on effort avoidance tendencies. Furthermore, there were only small to moderate correlations between children's self‐ratings and the adults' assessments; however, the consensus between adults was higher than the interrater agreement between children and social workers. Discrepancies in ratings from multiple informants underline the importance of integrating multiple perspectives, especially children's perspectives, in the diagnostic process in order to plan and adapt appropriate care and treatment.