Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Ellis Gesten

Co-Major Professor

Tiina Ojanen

Keywords

adolescence, biased ratings, discrepancy, multi-informant, multiple raters

Abstract

Previous research suggests that discrepant ratings of symptoms, behaviors, and competencies may have important implications for childhood adjustment. Consequently, several theoretical explanations regarding the meanings and implications of inter-rater discrepancies have been proposed. The current study examined several largely unexplored issues regarding the statistical and conceptual properties of discrepant ratings; these include heterogeneity of agreement, shared method variance, and direction-specific effects. In a sample of 384 seventh and eighth-grade adolescents, it was found that each of the issues is integral in the interpretation of significant relationships between discrepant ratings of social rejection and childhood adjustment variables. More specifically, results demonstrated that the influence of shared method variance appears to be largely related to heterogeneity of agreement, and that accounting for shared method variance can increase, decrease, or even change the direction of the relationship between discrepancy scores and other variables. Also, results showed that the magnitude of discrepancies can be unrelated, equally related, or differentially related to the adjustment variables for the different forms of bias. Altogether, the findings of this study have implications for the theoretical conceptualization and statistical analysis of inter-rater discrepancy scores.

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