First Advisor

Sandra C. Anderson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work and Social Research




Emotional problems of children, Behavioral assessment of children, Problem children -- Services for



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 157 pages)


The aim of this study is to explore strengths assessments and the participation of parents in assessment of strengths and functioning of their children challenged by serious emotional disorders. The children in this study have a high level of exposure to mental illness, domestic violence and substance abuse in their biological families. These children are living with family members or foster families in the community, with the majority at continuing risk of placement outside of their homes and communities due to serious emotional and behavioral problems.

The research questions investigated are the concordance of families and professionals in assessment of strengths, differences in assessment of strengths, problems in specific domains of functioning, and relationships of characteristics of the child with recognition of strengths by the parent and professional.

This study uses data collected from families of children with serious emotional disorders receiving services through community-based wraparound services supported by the mental health services program for children #5 HSS SM52297 funded by the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. The dissertation research presents a secondary analysis of a portion of the evaluation data collected for that demonstration.

Eighty-five children were assessed by the parent and professional using the Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (BERS), the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and the Child and Adolescent Functioning Scale (CAFAS). It was found that families provided significant and unique information regarding their children. A repeated measures analysis of the strengths scores revealed significant differences in the assessment of strengths by the parent and professional raters in domains of intrapersonal strengths, affective strengths and family involvement. The findings support the use of the strengths measure by multiple informants to provide unique information regarding the child’s strengths and functioning.


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