Developmental evaluation at age 4: Validity of an Italian parental questionnaire

Authors


Anna Maria Dall'Oglio, Unit of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology, Child Neuropsychiatry, IRCCS Paediatric Hospital Bambino Gesù, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy. Fax: +39 06 68592450; email: amdalloglio@opbg.net

Abstract

Aim:  To validate an Italian parental questionnaire designed to evaluate the neuropsychological and behavioural developmental status of 4-year-olds and identify children in need of further evaluation.

Methods:  The questionnaire (Questionario per la valutazione dello Sviluppo di bambini a 4 anni – Genitori (QS4-G) ) consisted of 93 questions divided into 10 areas: language, visual-motor abilities, memory/attention, fine and gross motor and self-help abilities, lateralisation, social skills, stress, sleep, alimentation and evacuation. It was distributed to 263 parents of 4-year-olds: 94 healthy preterm (gestational age <33 weeks and/or <1500 g, without major neurosensory damage); 44 children with developmental disorders and 125 children with typical development. Cognitive and neuropsychological evaluations were performed using standardised tests.

Results:  The internal consistency of the areas was adequate (Cronbach's alpha: 0.69–0.79). The correlation coefficients (r=|0.30|–|0.68|) with standardised tests (Griffiths, Vineland and neuropsychological tests) indicated a good concurrent validity. The receiver operating characteristic curve, for predicting a Griffiths Quotient less than 81, showed an area under the curve of 0.90 and a high diagnostic and discriminatory capacity (sensitivity of 0.88 and specificity of 0.84) for the optimal cut-off (value 48.4).

Conclusion:  The QS4-G seems to be a valid tool for identifying 4-year-old children at risk for low or borderline cognitive development and/or problematic behaviour who need a complete assessment. It can describe individual neuropsychological profiles. QS4-G is not a diagnostic tool. It is useful for outcome studies in preterm children and in other pathologies. It could also be useful for preschooler prevention programmes.

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