Measuring Components of Children's Health Status

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Abstract

Measures of physical, mental and social components of health status and general health ratings were studied for children ages 0–4 (N = 679) and 5–13 (N = 1473). Questionnaires were completed by adult proxies (usually mothers) in three generally healthy populations. Hypothesized multi-item scales were tested; reliability was estimated and preliminary attempts at validation were undertaken. Items in ten scales pertaining to mental health (Anxiety, Depression, Positive Well-Being, Mental Health Index), social health (Social Relations), general health ratings (Current Health, Prior Health, Resistance/Susceptibility to Illness, General Health Rating Index), as well as parental satisfaction with child development satisfied Likert-type and discriminant validity criteria. Because functional limitation items were endorsed for very few children, scales to measure physical health could not be tested. Almost all scales were sufficiently reliable for group comparisons; reliability coefficients were lower in the most disadvantaged population. Interrelationships among scales and validity variables generally supported their construct validity and supported a multi-component model of children's health status.

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