One of the most perplexing things about children’s health is that parents and children do not agree about it. The importance of obtaining children’s perspectives of their own health is the subject of a major debate among pediatricians and child health researchers. An analysis conducted by Anne Riley, PhD, associate professor with the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, concluded that children, even those as young as age six, can adequately understand and accurately report on their own health. The study suggests that questionnaires and interviews to ask children about their health directly and independently of their parents can have many applications. This report is published in the July/August 2004 issue of Ambulatory Pediatrics.
"There is good evidence from developmental, psychometric, cognitive interviewing research and longitudinal studies that suggest children can successfully complete age-appropriate health questionnaires and provide valuable information about their own health. Parent reports differ from those of children, but are nonetheless valuable in their own right, especially for collecting information on medical history, behavior and health care," said Dr. Riley.
Dr. Riley reviewed published research on child report questionnaires and longitudinal studies using children’s reports. The value and limitations of the data were examined in terms of parent-child agreement on the child’s state of health, the child’s cognitive development, the child’s ability to respond to questionnaires and influence his or her responses, psychometric studies of child-report questionnaires and how well the children’s reports related to future health in longitudinal research studies.
Tim Parsons | EurekAlert!
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