This page provides an overview of the DAWBA parent interview. If you want to see or download a PDF version of the interview in English or translation, click here. Note that these are suitable for e.g. showing to ethics committees, to provide an indicative sense of interview content. However it is not recommended that these are administered as they are often obsolete and cannot be scored using the validated DAWBA algorithm.

If you have already read about the self-report DAWBA interview for 11-17 year olds, the parent interview is very similar. One major difference between the parent and self-report interviews is that parents are asked more about inattention, hyperactivity and oppositionality – these are areas where young people often lack perspective on their own difficulties. Another major difference is that parents are asked less about the subjective accompaniments of panic attacks or potentially psychotic experiences – parents often know little about these.

Most of the DAWBA sections cover one type of mental health problem. These sections have a similar structure:

  • There is a brief introduction to give the parent a mental picture of what the section is about.
  • There are usually one or two screening questions to see if it is worth going any further. If the screening questions are positive, or if the parent reported related problems in the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), then the interview continues. If not, the rest of the section in skipped.
  • The parent is asked in detail about the presence and severity of symptoms in that domain. When symptoms are definitely present, the interview continues. When they are not, then the rest of the section is omitted.
  • Parents may be asked about how long symptoms have been present, and when they started.
  • When there are definite symptoms, parents are asked about the impact of symptoms on the child and the family. The domain-specific impact questions cover overall distress and interference with family life, learning, friendships and leisure activities.
  • The information elicited by the structured questions about symptoms and impact is generally supplemented by semi-structured information. If definite symptoms are identified by the structured questions, open-ended questions and supplementary prompts are used to get parents to describe the problems in their own words. These descriptions are typed into text boxes by parents, or are transcribed verbatim by interviewers. Interviewers are also encouraged to provide additional comments, where appropriate, on the parents’ understanding and motivation. Some research studies choose to omit the open-ended questions to save time, relying just on the computerized diagnostic predictions. Clinics nearly always choose to include the open-ended questions, finding the answers particularly helpful for their diagnostic judgements.

The time frame of the interview is the present and the recent past. For many disorders, the diagnostic criteria stipulate that the symptoms need to have persisted for a specified number of months. In these instances, the corresponding sections of the DAWBA interview focus on the child or young person’s symptoms over this stipulated period. The longest time frame is for conduct disorder since DSM-IV criteria involve the number of relevant behaviors displayed over the previous 12 months. At the opposite extreme, the time frame is just the last month for most of the emotional disorders since respondents often find it hard to report emotional symptoms accurately for longer periods.