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Open Access Research article

Do agreements between adolescent and parent reports on family socioeconomic status vary with household financial stress?

Christy Pu1, Nicole Huang1 and Yiing-Jenq Chou2*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Hospital and Health Care Administration, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011, 11:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-50

Published: 19 April 2011

Abstract

Background

Many studies compared the degree of concordance between adolescents' and parents' reports on family socioeconomic status (SES). However, none of these studies analyzed whether the degree of concordance varies by different levels of household financial stress. This research examines whether the degree of concordance between adolescents' and parent reports for the three traditional SES measures (parental education, parental occupation and household income) varied with parent-reported household financial stress and relative standard of living.

Methods

2,593 adolescents with a mean age of 13 years, and one of their corresponding parents from the Taiwan Longitudinal Youth Project conducted in 2000 were analyzed. Consistency of adolescents' and parents' reports on parental educational attainment, parental occupation and household income were examined by parent-reported household financial stress and relative standard of living.

Results

Parent-reported SES variables are closely associated with family financial stress. For all levels of household financial stress, the degree of concordance between adolescent's and parent's reports are highest for parental education (κ ranging from 0.87 to 0.71) followed by parental occupation (κ ranging from 0.50 to 0.34) and household income (κ ranging from 0.43 to 0.31). Concordance for father's education and parental occupation decreases with higher parent-reported financial stress. This phenomenon was less significant for parent-reported relative standard of living.

Conclusions

Though the agreement between adolescents' and parents' reports on the three SES measures is generally judged to be good in most cases, using adolescents reports for family SES may still be biased if analysis is not stratified by family financial stress.