Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Linda C. Mayes

Second Advisor

Michael J. Crowley

Subject Area(s)

Developmental psychology, Individual and family studies


PARENT-ADOLESCENT REPORTING DISCREPANCIES IN PARENTAL KNOWLEDGE: UNDERSTANDING THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO ADOLESCENT RISK-TAKING. Whitney L. McG. Kress, Michael J. Crowley, and Linda C. Mayes. Yale Child Study Center, Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. This study examined discrepancies in parent and adolescent reports of parental knowledge (PK) in order to better define the relationship of such discrepancies to adolescent risk-taking and to further explore the significance of discrepancies. Subjects included 164 adolescent-parent dyads (M age =14.9, SD 0.96). Adolescent and parent reports of PK both independently negatively correlated with degree of adolescent risk-taking. Discrepancy scores were generated by subtracting adolescent-reported PK from parent-reported PK. The relationship of discrepancy scores to adolescent risk-taking was examined in the context of three models: (1) A continuous model utilizing the absolute magnitude of the discrepancy score; (2) A three-group model consisting of a minimal discrepancy group, a group in which the parent reported higher levels of PK than the adolescent, and a group in which the adolescent reported higher levels of PK than the parent; and (3) A four-group model in which the minimal discrepancy group was further separated into two groups consisting of those reporting high levels of PK and those reporting low levels of PK. All three models significantly related to adolescent risk-taking. Models 1 and 2 both demonstrated that higher levels of discrepancies between parent and adolescent reports of PK corresponded to higher levels of risk-taking. The four-group model had the strongest correlation with risk-taking and demonstrated that the group consisting of subjects in whom there was minimal discrepancy with agreement on high levels of PK had significantly lower levels of adolescent risk-taking than any of the other discrepancy categories. Discrepancy groups also differed significently from eachother with respect to adolescent impulsivity and percieved stress. Findings suggest that discrepancy scores in PK are most highly related to risk-taking when interpreted in the context of their magnitude, directionality, and degree of PK. Specifically, low levels of discrepancies with high levels of PK appears to be protective of risk-taking and also associated with lower levels of impulsivity and percieved stress.