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Can We Identify Parents Who Do Not Verbally Share Concerns for Their Children's Development?

Eremita, Matthew BS; Semancik, Eileen MD; Lerer, Trudy MS; Dworkin, Paul H. MD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: April 2017 - Volume 38 - Issue 3 - p 224–227
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000426
Brief Reports

Objective: We aimed to identify characteristics of parents who do not voice developmental concerns when prompted by their children's nurse and/or primary care provider (PCP), despite reporting concerns on parent-completed questionnaires.

Methods: We reviewed 376 medical records of children seen for a 9-month well-child visit in an urban pediatric clinic between September 2011 and December 2012 for sociodemographic variables hypothesized to affect parents' sharing of developmental concerns: the child's birth order and gender; parents' education level, employment, relationship status, and primary language; and family size and racial/ethnic background. The target population was parents who reported concerns on the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS), a routinely administered, parent-completed screening questionnaire. We subdivided parents who reported concerns on the PEDS (N = 86) based on whether they voiced developmental concerns when prompted by their children's nurse and/or PCP. Two-sided Fisher's exact tests and logistic regression evaluated the relationship between sociodemographic variables and parents' voicing of developmental concerns.

Results: Only parent education approached significance, as parents with less than a high school education (<HS) were more likely to not voice concerns for their children's development than parents with at least a high school degree or equivalent (≥HS) (63% compared to 35%, p = .056). Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that parents with <HS were 3.238 (1.085–9.663, 95% CI, p = .035) times more likely to not verbally share developmental concerns than those with ≥HS.

Conclusion: Parents with low educational attainment may be more likely to not verbally share their developmental concerns. For children of such parents, early detection of developmental delay may be strengthened by use of written questionnaires.

*University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT;

Department of Research, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT;

Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT;

§Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT.

Address for reprints: Paul H. Dworkin, MD, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106; e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received July 15, 2016

Accepted January 04, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.