Screening for Children’s Chronic Health Conditions and Their Strengths and Difficulties in Primary Care

Document Type


Publication Date


Find in a Library

Catalog Record



This study explores parents' perceptions of their child's health status and their strengths and difficulties using 2 validated instruments in primary care settings.


This cross-sectional study was conducted between February 2018 and October 2019. Parents of children aged 2 to 18 years completed the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) screener and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) as well as demographics. The CSHCN uses 5 questions to identify children with chronic health conditions. Three subgroups were created: children with no chronic health condition (NCHC), chronic health condition with no functional limitations (NFLs), and chronic health condition with functional limitations (FLs). Higher SDQ scores indicate higher degrees of a factor. Associations between CSHCN subgroups and SDQ scores, controlling for demographics, were analyzed with multiple linear regressions.


In total, 970 parents' surveys (87.9% completed surveys) were included in this analysis: 76.4% of respondents were married, 56.4% had an annual household income ≥$50,000%, and 61.7% were employed full time; 53.0% of the index children were males, 72.1% were White, and 61.4% had private insurance. Mean (SD) total SDQ scores across the 3 CSHCN subgroups were significantly different (NCHC, 7.7 [4.8]; NFL, 12.6 [6.6]; FL, 16.0 [6.7], p < 0.001). The mean SDQ prosocial scores were higher in the NCHC subgroup (p < 0.001), as hypothesized. The SDQ means for the 3 subgroups remained significantly different after controlling for demographics.


Children with FLs had significantly higher total SDQ scores than children in the other 2 subgroups, which may aid clinicians in the early identification of children who would benefit from behavioral health resources.



Catalog Record