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Using Parent Questionnaires to Assess Neurodevelopment in Former Preterm Infants: A Validation Study



Mandy B. Belfort, Children's Hospital Boston, Hunnewell 438, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.




Former preterm and very low birthweight infants require close neurodevelopmental surveillance after hospital discharge, but in-person professional testing is resource-intensive and inconvenient for families. A standardised developmental questionnaire completed by parents offers an alternative to in-person testing, but few such questionnaires have been validated. Our aim was to validate the Motor and Social Development (MSD) scale in a sample of former preterm infants.


We studied 321 visits to a neonatal follow-up clinic. Parents completed the MSD, which measures cognitive, motor and social abilities. Psychologists and physical therapists administered the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 3rd edition (Bayley-III) cognitive and motor scales.


The median (range) gestational age was 28 (23, 34) weeks and birthweight 980 (400, 2700) g. Corrected age at study participation ranged 5–35 months. The mean (standard deviation) Bayley-III motor score was 94 (16), cognitive 98 (16) and MSD 91 (18). Internal consistency of the MSD was moderate to high (Cronbach alpha of 0.65 to 0.88). The MSD was moderately correlated with the Bayley-III motor (Pearson r = 0.49, P < 0.001) and cognitive (r = 0.45, P < 0.001) scales. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.88 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81, 0.95] for the MSD to detect a low Bayley-III motor score (<70), and 0.88 [95% CI 0.82, 0.95] for a low cognitive score, indicating good discrimination.


The MSD has good internal and concurrent validity, and may be useful for neurodevelopmental assessment of former preterm and very low birthweight infants in clinical and research settings.

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