Development and evaluation of the Parenting to Reduce Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (PaRCADS): Assessment of parental concordance with guidelines for the prevention of child anxiety and depression

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Background. Involving parents in the prevention of mental health problems in children is prudent given their fundamental role in supporting their child's development. However, few measures encapsulate the range of risk and protective factors for child anxiety and depression that parents can potentially modify. The Parenting to Reduce Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (PaRCADS) was developed as a criterion-referenced measure to assess parenting against a set of evidence-based parenting guidelines for the prevention of child anxiety and depressive disorders. Methods. In Study 1, 355 parents of children 8-11 years old across Australia completed the PaRCADS and measures of parenting, general family functioning, child anxiety and depressive symptoms, and parent and child health-related quality of life. Their children completed measures of parenting, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and health-related quality of life. In Study 2, six subject-experts independently evaluated the PaRCADS items for item-objective congruence and item-relevance. Item analysis was conducted by examining item-Total point-biserial correlation, difficulty index, B-index, and expert-rated content validity indices. Reliability (or dependability) was assessed by agreement coefficients for single administration. Construct validity was examined by correlational analyses with other measures. Results. Four items were removed to yield a 79-item, 10-subscale PaRCADS. Reliability estimates for the subscale and total score range from .74 to .94. Convergent validity was indicated by moderate to strong correlations with other parenting and family functioning measures, and discriminant validity was supported by small to moderate correlations with a measure of parents' health-related quality of life. Higher scores on the PaRCADS were associated with fewer anxiety and depressive symptoms and better health-related quality of life in the child. PaRCADS total score was associated with parental age, parent reported child's history of mental health diagnosis and child's current mental health problem. Discussion. Results showed that the PaRCADS demonstrates adequate psychometric properties that provide initial support for its use as a measure of parenting risk Subjects Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Psychology, Public Health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6865
Number of pages31
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2019


  • Assessment
  • Childhood
  • Criterion-referenced
  • Family
  • Internalising
  • Mastery
  • Prevention

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