Early detection of emotional and behavioural problems in children with diabetes: the validity of the Child Health Questionnaire as a screening instrument

F.J. Cameron, D.P. Smidts, M. Hesketh, M. Wake, E.A. Northam

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Abstract

Aims: To assess the validity of the Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ) as a screening tool for detecting 'at risk' emotional and behavioural maladjustment in children with diabetes, using the Behaviour Assessment System for Children (BASC) as a gold standard measure. Methods: CHQ and BASC were administered to 103 parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, aged 7-12 years. Sub-scales of the two measures were compared using Pearson's bivariate correlations. CHQ sensitivity and specificity cut-points were optimized against the BASC borderline category using receiver operating characteristic curves. Results: The BASC Externalizing Problems scale correlated strongly with CHQ Behaviour, Global Behaviour, Mental Health, Family Activities and Family Cohesion scales (r-values -0.68, -0.54, -0.51, -0.59, and -0.42, respectively). BASC Internalizing Problems scale correlated strongly with CHQ Behaviour, Mental Health and Family Cohesion scales (r-values -0.40, -0.43 and -0.45, respectively). Using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, the CHQ Mental Health scale most effectively identified children classified as borderline on the BASC Internalizing Problems scale (sensitivity 87%, specificity 78%), while the CHQ Global Behaviour scale most effectively identified children classified as borderline on the BASC Externalizing Problems scale (sensitivity 73%, specificity 82%). Conclusions: Significant correlations were seen between the CHQ Global Behaviour and Mental Health scales and the BASC Externalizing and Internalizing scales, respectively. Sequential use of the CHQ, as a screening tool, followed by an established mental health measure such as the BASC, may help identify children with diabetes 'at risk' for chronic maladjustment and poor health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-650
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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