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December 1995

Health Status of Preterm Low-Birth-Weight Infants: Comparisons of Maternal Reports

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation, Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Drs Scholle and Casey) and the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning (Ms Whiteside and Dr Bradley), University of Arkansas at Little Rock; and the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine (Dr Kelleher). Dr Scholle is now with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(12):1351-1357. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170250057010

Background:  Developers of measures of child health status have documented acceptable reliability and some validity, but less attention has been paid to the concurrent and predictive validity of these measures.

Methods:  We examined the concurrent and predictive validity of the RAND General Health Rating Index, the Stein-Jessop Functional Status II-R, and the mother's global assessment of her child's health on a 5-point scale, in a sample of preterm low-birth-weight children (n= 608) who were followed up as controls in the Infant Health and Development Program. We compared maternal-reported measures assessed at 24 months with other measures of growth, morbidity, functioning, and health care utilization assessed concurrently and at 36 months in bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Results:  After controlling for other factors, the RAND General Health Rating Index and the Stein-Jessop Functional Status II-R were unrelated to the growth, utilization, or functioning measures. The RAND General Health Rating Index was significantly, but weakly, related to future morbidity. The mother's global perception of health was significantly related to outpatient utilization and behavior problems.

Conclusions:  Clinicians may find that maternal assessment of overall child health is a sensitive but nonspecific indicator of the mother's concern. For researchers, none of these measures seems likely to serve as a proxy for health care utilization or morbidity in studies of other phenomena, or as an indicator of detailed health outcomes.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:1351-1357)

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