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1.  The Role of Maternal Perceptions and Ethnic Background in the Mental Health Help-Seeking Pathway of Adolescent Girls 
Mothers play a crucial role in the help-seeking pathway of adolescents. This study examined how mothers with different ethnic backgrounds perceive the issue of help-seeking for internalizing problems (e.g. depression) in adolescent girls. Seven focus group discussions were conducted with 41 Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish mothers with a teenage daughter. Discussions were conceptually framed within a model of help-seeking and facilitated by a vignette. The internalizing problems sketched in the vignette were recognized as severe nonetheless; identified long term consequences varied per ethnic group. Negative attitudes towards General Practitioners, inaccessible mental health services and denial by daughters would hamper help-seeking. Fear of negative judgments/gossiping was considered a barrier by Turkish and Moroccan participants. Participants identified themselves and schools as primary sources of help. Turkish participants also named chaplains. To enhance utilization of mental health services by (minority) youth it is important to also address maternal barriers.
PMCID: PMC3599171  PMID: 22527744
Ethnic minorities; Mental health; Help-seeking behavior; Parental support; Adolescents
2.  Health-related quality of life in preschool children in five health conditions 
Quality of Life Research  2010;20(5):779-786.
To test the responsiveness of the Infant/Toddler Quality of Life Questionnaire (ITQOL) to five health conditions. In addition, to evaluate the impact of the child’s age and gender on the ITQOL domain scores.
Observational study of 494 Dutch preschool-aged children with five clinical conditions and 410 healthy preschool children randomly sampled from the general population. The clinical conditions included neurofibromatosis type 1, wheezing illness, bronchiolitis, functional abdominal complaints, and burns. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was assessed by a mailed parent-completed ITQOL. Mean ITQOL scale scores for all conditions were compared with scores obtained from the reference sample. The effect of patient’s age and gender on ITQOL scores was assessed using multi-variable regression analysis.
In all health conditions, substantially lower scores were found for several ITQOL scales. The conditions had a variable effect on the type of ITQOL domains and a different magnitude of effect. Scores for ‘physical functioning’, ‘bodily pain’, and ‘general health perceptions’ showed the greatest range. Parental impact scales were equally affected by all conditions. In addition to disease type, the child’s age and gender had an impact on HRQoL.
The five health conditions (each with a distinct clinical profile) affected the ITQOL scales differently. These results indicate that the ITQOL is sensitive to specific characteristics and symptom expression of the childhood health conditions investigated. This insight into the sensitivity of the ITQOL to health conditions with different symptom expression may help in the interpretation of HRQoL results in future applications.
PMCID: PMC3102208  PMID: 21153564
Health-related quality of life; Preschool children; ITQOL; Variety of diseases
3.  Functional abdominal complaints in pre-school children: parental reports of health-related quality of life 
Quality of Life Research  2010;19(3):363-369.
The aim of this study is to assess the influence of functional abdominal complaints (FAC) on health-related quality of life in a group of Dutch pre-school children.
Parents of children aged up to 6.0  visiting the outpatient pediatric department, Erasmus MC-Sophia, Rotterdam, The Netherlands in the period January 2005–December 2006 for functional abdominal complaints during at least 3 months were asked to complete the Infant/Toddler Quality of life Questionnaire (ITQOL), and questions of the abdominal pain index for use by parents to report pain symptoms in pre-school children. ITQOL scale scores of children with FAC were compared against with Dutch reference values. The abdominal pain index was tested for internal consistency and test–retest reliability. Correlations between ITQOL scale scores and abdominal pain index were assessed by Spearman’s rank test.
Results are based on 81 questionnaires completed by parents of children with FAC (response rate 61%). Children had a median age of 46 months (interquartile range 27–59), 48% girls. A significant impact was observed on most aspects of quality of life, particularly for physical functioning, general development, bodily pain, temperament and moods, general health perceptions and parental emotional impact. Parents of children with functional constipation tended to report lower scores than those of children with other FAC. The abdominal pain index appeared to be valid and was significantly correlated with ITQOL scales bodily pain and general health perceptions.
A substantial lower health-related quality of life is reported in pre-school children with functional abdominal complaints, with effects on physical, emotional and parental domains. The 5-question severity index of abdominal pain appeared a valid tool and may be helpful to quickly assess the severity of abdominal pain in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC2836462  PMID: 20069377
Abdominal pain; Pre-school children; Health-related quality of life
4.  Reliability and validity of health status measurement by the TAPQOL 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2005;90(4):351-358.
Background: In addition to clinical measures in the evaluation of paediatric interventions, health related quality of life (HRQoL) is an important outcome. The TAPQOL (TNO-AZL Preschool children Quality of Life) was developed to measure HRQoL in preschool children. It is a generic instrument consisting of 12 scales that cover the domains physical, social, cognitive, and emotional functioning.
Aims: To evaluate the feasibility, score distribution, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and discriminative and concurrent validity of the TAPQOL multi-item scales in preschool children, aged 2–48 months. Also to evaluate the feasibility, reliability, and validity separately for infants (2–12 months old) and toddlers (12–48 months old).
Methods: Parents of a random general population sample of 500 preschool children were sent a questionnaire by mail. A random subgroup of 159 parents who participated received a retest after two weeks.
Results: The response rate was 83% at the test and 75% at the retest. There were few missing answers. Six scales showed ceiling effects. Nine scales had Cronbach's alphas >0.70. In general, score distributions and Cronbach's alphas were comparable for infants and toddlers. Test-retest showed no significant differences in mean scale scores; two scales had intra-class correlations <0.50. Five scales showed significant differences between children with no conditions versus children with two or more parent reported chronic conditions.
Conclusion: Results showed that the TAPQOL is a feasible instrument to measure HRQoL and support the reliability and discriminative validity of the majority of its scales for infants as well as toddlers.
PMCID: PMC1720358  PMID: 15781921
5.  Reliability and validity of the short form of the child health questionnaire for parents (CHQ-PF28) in large random school based and general population samples 
Study objectives: This study assessed the feasibility, reliability, and validity of the 28 item short child health questionnaire parent form (CHQ-PF28) containing the same 13 scales, but only a subset of the items in the widely used 50 item CHQ-PF50.
Design: Questionnaires were sent to a random regional sample of 2040 parents of schoolchildren (4–13 years); in a random subgroup test-retest reliability was assessed (n = 234). Additionally, the study assessed CHQ-PF28 score distributions and internal consistencies in a nationwide general population sample of (parents of) children aged 4–11 (n = 2474) from Statistics Netherlands.
Main results: Response was 70%. In the school and general population samples seven scales showed ceiling effects. Both CHQ summary measures and one multi-item scale showed adequate internal consistency in both samples (Cronbach's α>0.70). One summary measure and one scale showed excellent test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient >0.70); seven scales showed moderate test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.50–0.70). The CHQ could discriminate between a subgroup with no parent reported chronic conditions (n = 954) and subgroups with asthma (n = 134), frequent headaches (n = 42), and with problems with hearing (n = 38) (Cohen's effect sizes 0.12–0.92; p<0.05 for 39 of 42 comparisons).
Conclusions: This study showed that the CHQ-PF28 resulted in score distributions, and discriminative validity that are comparable to its longer counterpart, but that the internal consistency of most individual scales was low. In community health applications, the CHQ-PF28 may be an acceptable alternative for the longer CHQ-PF50 if the summary measures suffice and reliable estimates of each separate CHQ scale are not required.
PMCID: PMC1763365  PMID: 15598731
6.  Assessing psychosocial correlates of parental safety behaviour using Protection Motivation Theory: stair gate presence and use among parents of toddlers 
Health Education Research  2007;23(4):723-731.
Unintentional injury due to falls is one of the main reasons for hospitalization among children 0–4 years of age. The goal of this study was to assess the psychosocial correlates of parental safety behaviours to prevent falls from a staircase due to the lack of or the lack of adequate use of a stair gate. Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey using self-administered questionnaires mailed to a population sample of 2470 parents with toddlers. Associations between self-reported habits on the presence and use of stair gates and family and psychosocial factors were analysed, using descriptive statistics and multiple regression models, based on Protection Motivation Theory. The presence of stair gates was associated with family situation, perceived vulnerability, response efficacy, social norms and descriptive norms. The use of stair gates was associated with family situation, response efficacy, self-efficacy and perceived advantages of safe behaviour. The full model explained 32 and 24% of the variance in the presence of stair gates and the use of stair gates, respectively, indicating a large and medium effect size. Programmes promoting the presence and adequate use of stair gates should address the family situation, personal cognitive factors as well as social factors.
PMCID: PMC2446409  PMID: 17947245
7.  Internet and written respiratory questionnaires yield equivalent results for adolescents 
Pediatric Pulmonology  2007;42(4):357-361.
This study compared results from Internet and written questionnaires about respiratory symptoms in order to find out if both forms of the survey yielded the same answers. One thousand seventy-one students, ages 13 to 17, were asked to complete either an Internet or a written questionnaire. The demographic characteristics of the participants equalled those of the general Dutch adolescent population. Participants were randomly assigned to fill out an electronic or written questionnaire. In addition to eight items from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire, two items on doctor visits (medical attention) regarding asthma or allergic disease during the past 12 months were included. The participation rate was 87%. The Internet version of the questionnaire showed fewer missing answers than the written version, but this was not statistically significant. The respiratory items did not show statistically significant score differences between the Internet and written modes of administration, and there was no visible trend for higher respectively lower scores by either mode of questionnaire administration. From these results, we conclude that respiratory questionnaires may be provided to adolescents electronically rather than on paper, since both approaches yielded equal results. To generalize these findings, we recommend repeated studies in other settings.
PMCID: PMC2737624  PMID: 17335011
adolescents; allergy; asthma; international study of asthma and allergies in childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire; internet questionnaire; written questionnaire; validity

Results 1-7 (7)