Child health and parental stress in school-age children with a preschool diagnosis of developmental delay.J Child Neurol. 2008 Jan; 23(1):32-8.JC
Chronic disorders are known to have a wide-ranging impact on overall health and family dynamics. The objective of this study was to assess child health and well-being and parental stress in a cohort of school-age children diagnosed before school entry with either global developmental delay or developmental language impairment. In total, 65 children with preschool developmental delay were assessed at school age (mean +/- SD age: 7.3 +/- 0.7 years) with the Child Health Questionnaire and Parenting Stress Index, with a mean interval between assessment of 3.9 years. Almost all children who completed testing (60/62) continued to show developmental impairments across domains. On the Child Health Questionnaire, children showed the greatest impairment on the mental health scale (median z score: -0.9). The median Child Health Questionnaire psychosocial health score (40.7) was almost 1 SD below established normative values (P < .001). More than 40% of parents had a Parenting Stress Index above the 85th percentile (clinically significant parenting stress). Using multiple linear regression analysis, high levels of parenting stress were best predicted by a child's Child Health Questionnaire psychosocial health score (r2 = 0.49, P < .001). Thus, 4 years after a preschool-age diagnosis of developmental delay, poor psychosocial health was a common comorbidity. Almost half the parents showed clinically significant levels of parenting stress. There is a need to both recognize and provide ongoing social and emotional support for young children diagnosed with developmental disability and their families.