Research Article: Convergence between parent report and direct assessment of language and attention in culturally and linguistically diverse children

Date Published: July 6, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Kerry Danahy Ebert, Frederic Dick.


Parent report is commonly used to assess language and attention in children for research and clinical purposes. It is therefore important to understand the convergent validity of parent-report tools in comparison to direct assessments of language and attention. In particular, cultural and linguistic background may influence this convergence. In this study a group of six- to eight-year old children (N = 110) completed direct assessments of language and attention and their parents reported on the same areas. Convergence between assessment types was explored using correlations. Possible influences of ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic) and of parent report language (English or Spanish) were explored using hierarchical linear regression. Correlations between parent report and direct child assessments were significant for both language and attention, suggesting convergence between assessment types. Ethnicity and parent report language did not moderate the relationships between direct child assessments and parent report tools for either attention or language.

Partial Text

Parent report is a crucial component in assessment for many developmental disabilities. It can provide historical and functional perspectives not otherwise available in a clinical assessment setting. Collecting parent report is also consistent with the fundamental healthcare shift towards patient-reported measures [1]. However, parent report tools should demonstrate convergent validity with direct clinical assessments of children, meaning that the two types of measures should be related for the assessment of any given developmental disorder. It is critical to understand not only how each specific tool corresponds with direct clinical assessments but also the factors that influence the convergent validity of parent reports in general. In particular, the ever-increasing diversity of clients in many clinical settings necessitates an understanding of the possible influence of culture and language on parent report tools.

This study was approved by the Rush University Medical Center Institutional Review Board. Written consent to participate was obtained from the parents or guardians of all participants.

Table 1 shows descriptive information on the attention and language measures used in the current study. Scores on the VADPRS inattention and hyperactivity scales spanned nearly the entire range of the instrument (i.e., from 0 reported symptoms up to a maximum possible symptom score of 27 on either scale). Similarly, proportion scores on each section of the ALDeQ spanned the entire possible range of the instrument (from 0 to 1).

The overall goal of this study was to consider the convergent validity of parent report tools and direct child assessments in the areas of attention and language. Across both areas, the general convergence between these types of tools was positive and significant: with the exception of the VADPRS Hyperactivity scale, all subcomponents and overall scores on the parent report tools correlated significantly with the direct child assessments. Partial correlation coefficients, controlling for the effect of age, ranged from r = .26 to r = .55, representing medium to large effect sizes [41]. Thus, this study provides evidence that parent report and direct child assessment converge for both constructs of interest here, attention and language.




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