The Parent Daily Report (PDR)

The Parent Daily Report (PDR) is a parent observation self-report measure developed in 1969 to supplement independent home observations and measure parents’ perceptions of child problem behavior and emotional problems. PDR is also used to measure the occurrence of clandestine problems such as stealing and lying that are not readily observable. The PDR has been shown to be a reliable measure of parent reports of child problem behavior that avoids typical problems with other measures that affect accuracy such as the need to aggregate recall over a number of days or to estimate the frequency of behaviors.

The PDR is administered via telephone and consists of 34 child behavior items. Parents are asked if each item occurred/did not occur within the past 24 hours and, if it did occur, if it was stressful. Both the occurrence and the stress items require a “yes or “no” answer from the parent: Did it occur? Was it stressful? Two scores are produced for each PDR call administered: the Total Problem Behavior score and the Total Stress score. Completing the PDR takes from 5-10 minutes per call.

Prior to administering the first the PDR call, the parent is given an orientation session to review the items and address questions. The parent is told she/he will be telephoned on a regular schedule and will be asked to go over the entire list, indicating which, if any, of the events actually occurred in the previous 24 hours. The parent is not asked to provide frequencies, only occurrence/non-occurrence and whether the behavior was stressful. The calls are kept short, matter-of-fact, and are not used as minitherapy sessions.


As an outcome measure: The PDR has been used in numerous studies to measure change in the level of parent perception of child problems and parent stress before, during, and after intervention. The below graph depicts a typical output. The orange line shows the occurrences of child problems over a given time period (here we show over the course of a 16-week intervention); the blue line depicts the level of parent stress. The PDR has been found to be sensitive to change as a result of interventions.

To predict placement disruption in foster care: Studies have shown that high rates of child problem behaviors and parent stress predict foster care placement disruptions. For example, in one large study of 4-11 year old children in foster care, those with a daily average of 6 or more parent reported problems were significantly more likely to disrupt than those below that threshold; each additional behavior over 6 increased the probability of disruption by 25%.

As a measure of group improvement: PDR scores can be averaged across parents and time to determine if group-based interventions are having the intended effects.

As a measure of foster parent readiness to accept additional child placements in their home: Averaging the child problem behavior scores and the parent stress scores of all children residing in a foster home provides information that can inform decisions about whether the parent has increased capacity to serve additional children.



Chamberlain, P., Price, J. M., Reid, J. B., Landsverk, J., Fisher, P. A., & Stoolmiller, M. (2006). Who disrupts from placement in foster and kinship care? Child Abuse and Neglect, 30, 409-424.

Chamberlain, P., & Reid, J. B. (1987). Parent observation and report of child symptoms. Behavioral Assessment, 9, 97-109.

Hurlburt, M. S., Chamberlain, P., DeGarmo, D., Zhang, J., & Price, J. M. (2010). Advancing prediction of foster placement disruption using brief behavioral screening. Child Abuse and Neglect34(12), 917-926.

Patterson, G. R. (1974). Retraining of aggressive boys by their parents: Review of recent literature and follow-up evaluation. In F. Lowey (Ed.), Symposium on the severely disturbed preschool child, Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal, 19, 142-149.

Reid, J. B., & Patterson, G. R. (1976). The modification of aggression and stealing behavior of boys in the home setting. In E. Ribes-Inesta & A. Bandura (Eds.), Behavior modification: Experimental analyses of aggression and delinquency (pp. 123-145). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.