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Research Priorities for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics: A DBPNet Consensus Study

Blum, Nathan J. MD*; Feldman, Heidi M. MD, PhD; Barbaresi, William J. MD; Schonfeld, David J. MD§; Hansen, Robin L. MD; Forrest, Christopher B. MD, PhD*

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: July/August 2012 - Volume 33 - Issue 6 - p 509–516
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31825a7101
Special Article

Objective: To achieve consensus regarding important clinical, translational, and health services research questions for the field of developmental-behavioral pediatrics (DBP). Methods: Twenty-seven developmental-behavioral pediatricians, 16 psychologists, and 12 parents participated in a 3-round Delphi survey. Participation was 100% in Rounds I and III and 96% in Round II. In Round I, each participant suggested up to 10 research questions important for DBP in the next 5 years. In Round II, participants rated the importance of each unique question on a 9-point Likert scale. Questions were rated as consensus important questions if they had a median score of 7 and the 25th percentile was at least 6 or the coefficient of variation ≤30 (suggesting consensus). Questions were rated as potentially important if they had a median of 7, but a coefficient of variation >30 or if specific stakeholder group ratings suggested importance. After providing participants the Round II results, potentially important questions were rated a second time (Round III). Results: In Round I, 216 unique research questions were identified. In Round II, 29 of these questions met the criteria for a consensus important question and 60 questions were rated as potentially important. In Round III, 10 additional questions were rated as consensus important questions. Of the 39 consensus important questions, 20 were efficacy or comparative effectiveness studies and 40% related to autism spectrum disorders. Conclusions: This Delphi process identified a set of high priority clinical, translational, and health services research topics for DBP that can guide research to advance the field and improve care and outcomes for children with DBP conditions.


From the *Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA; †Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford CA; ‡Division of Developmental Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; §Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH; ‖University of California-Davis MIND Institute, Sacramento, CA.

This article has supplementary material on the Web site:

Received October 2011; accepted April 2012.

DBPNet is supported by cooperative agreement UA3MC20218 from the Maternal Child Health Bureau (Combating Autism Act of 2006), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions this article on the journal's Web site (

Address for reprints: Nathan Blum, MD, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3550 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.