New tool measures children's own health perceptions

Parents and children do not always agree in their assessments of the child's health. Parents usually report that their children are feeling better than the children say they are. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that children as young as six can accurately report on their health and well-being when questions are presented in an illustrated, informative format. They have developed a set of new assessment tools to measure children's perceptions of their own health and well-being, called the Child Health and Illness Profile, Child Edition (CHIP-CE). The researchers also found that the Child Report Form of the CHIP-CE is an accurate predictor of children's future health care service use. Three manuscripts in the March 2004 edition of the journal Medical Care present the development and validation of the instruments. The CHIP-CE is a measure of self-assessed health that can provide a valuable new means for describing the health needs of community children, as well as those in clinical settings, evaluating the impact of health and social policies and health interventions, as well as for understanding the development of health as children mature.

"The concept of what it means to be healthy has evolved beyond the mere absence of illnesses to encompass the idea that health is a resource that allows individuals to adapt to demands and to flourish in their lives. Health perceptions and well being are central to this integrated concept of health. Previously, we could not measure the health of children from their own viewpoint. The CHIP-CE is an effective, new tool for assessing child health from the perspectives of children themselves and their parents," said study author Anne Riley, PhD, associate professor with the School's Department of Health Policy and Management and lead developer of the CHIP-CE.

The CHIP-CE questionnaire is designed for children ages 6 through 11. A companion parent report form measures caregivers'

Contact: Tim Parsons
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

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