Background. Developmental delay (DD) in infants and children is one of the chief complaints of parents. It has been established that the concerns of parents are as accurate as quality screening tests. Some kinds of concerns are particularly useful in the early detection of associated developmental problems. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the main parental concerns and the final diagnosis based on professional assessment of children who are suspected to have DD. Methods. One-hundred and 1 infants or children were recruited into this study. The major concerns of parents were elicited and categorized by various developmental domains: speech, motor, behavioral, cognitive, global, and non-specific developmental problems. All children underwent comprehensive combined assessments by professionals in the hospital, and were classified into 6 subtypes: speech, motor, behavioral, cognitive, and global DD, and normal development. Results. Our results revealed that parental concerns about speech, motor, and behavioral development yielded a high sensitivity to the final diagnosis of the same developmental domain (77-89%). However, concerns about cognitive and global DD had limited sensitivity (15-36%). On the other hand, concerns about global, speech, and motor DD had relatively higher positive predictive values (55-77%). Comparatively, cognitive or behavioral concerns had lower positive predictive values (25-33%). Conclusions. Such results indicate that parents play an important role in detecting speech, motor and behavioral DD in children. Parental concerns about cognition and behavior should be questioned in terms of their association with the real problem. This information may be useful in establishing trends in understanding the discrepancy or relationship between parental concerns and professional assessments in DD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Developmental delay
  • Developmental function
  • Parental concerns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between parental concerns and professional assessment in developmental delay in infants and children - A hospital-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this