College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Antonio Polo, PhD

Second Advisor

Molly Brown, PhD


Depressive disorders are some of the most common mental health problems among U.S. adolescents, particularly among Latino youth (Merikangas et al., 2010; Twenge & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2002). When parents and their children provide ratings on the presence and severity of the child’s depressive symptoms, their ratings show only low to moderate agreement (Mascendaro et al., 2012). Research has shown that parent–child discrepancies in ratings of youth emotional and behavioral problems are linked to factors such as parental depression and ethnicity. However, discrepancies research has focused primarily on European American families in clinical settings. Subsequently, research has failed to examine discrepancies in populations with the highest levels of unmet need and much less is known about patterns of parent–child endorsement agreement in depressive symptoms among ethnic minority families in community samples. Using a sample of 313 low-income, predominantly Latino students at chronic risk for depression, the present study addressed methodological limitations by utilizing Latent Class Analysis (LCA) to uncover patterns of parent–child endorsement of core diagnostic depressive symptoms. Three classes emerged, including classes characterized by high endorsement and agreement (HH), low endorsement and agreement (LH), and high youth endorsement and low agreement (HCL). Multinomial regression models revealed that prior mental health service use, higher comorbid externalizing problems, and parental Spanish interview language were associated with HCL class membership, in which parents under-reported core depressive symptoms, relative to youth themselves. In contrast, youth age, youth gender, youth ethnicity, parental depression, and parental education were not associated with endorsement agreement classes. Findings provide evidence that cultural and clinical factors impact parental endorsement of youth depression and suggest that psychoeducation aimed at increasing parental awareness of youth depression and minimizing stigma may increase access to mental health services among youth with chronic depression.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons