Systematically exploring parental as well as other caregivers' concerns is a main component in preventive child health care (PCHC) for family-centred practice and personalized health care. To facilitate communication and early identification of emerging mental health problems, a PCHC toolkit based on short instruments was developed. This article investigates the reliability and validity of (1) two visual analogue scales (VAS) to assess parent-reported 'parenting' and 'child behaviour', (2) a professional caregiver-reported VAS to assess 'child competence' and (3) the parents' evaluation of developmental status (PEDS) in Dutch PCHC. Parents as well as child care, kindergarten and preschool teachers completed instruments in a community-based sample of children (N = 346) aged 3 years at baseline. The three VAS and PEDS were associated with standardized questionnaires assessing the same constructs. Overall predictive accuracy showed: good to excellent for 'parenting' VAS, fair to good for 'child behaviour' VAS and poor for 'child competence' VAS. The PEDS, 'parenting' VAS and 'child behaviour' VAS, demonstrated high sensitivity at various cut-off points of index test and reference standard. At follow-up, approximately 1 year later, results were similar. Although the 'child competence' VAS scored lower on one aspect of validity, the PEDS and the different VAS are reliable, valid and useful as brief monitoring tools in daily Dutch PCHC practice.
- Child mental health
- personalized preventive child health care
- short instruments
- visual analogue scale
- PSYCHOSOCIAL PROBLEMS