Research Article| Volume 4, ISSUE 3, P209-216, May 2004

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Parents' Mood and the Content of Pediatric Care for Young Children

      Objective.—To assess the relationship between parents' mood and the provision of anticipatory guidance by pediatric health care providers.
      Data Source.—Data analyzed were from the National Survey of Early Childhood Health, a cross-sectional nationally representative survey concerning young children 4–35 months of age (n = 2068).
      Key Variables.—Parents were asked whether the children's health care providers had discussed 10–12 age-appropriate health promotion topics and 5 psychosocial issues during the past 12 months. Parents also identified missed opportunities for guidance (ie, topics not discussed for which discussion would have been helpful) and reported whether providers should discuss psychosocial issues. Parents' mood was assessed using factor scores derived from the Mental Health Inventory.
      Analyses.—Log–linear regression analyses determined if parents' mood was a significant predictor of the number of topics and issues discussed, the number of missed opportunities, and the reported number of issues that providers should discuss.
      Results.—Parents who were more often in a positive mood discussed more health promotion topics (B = .06, P < .001) and psychosocial issues (B = .10, P < .01) with their child's health care providers. Parents who were more often in a negative mood identified more missed opportunities (B = .08, P = .02) and more issues that providers should discuss (B = .04, P < .001).
      Conclusions.—Increased attention to parents' mood and emotional well-being may help pediatricians identify parents who desire additional anticipatory guidance and ensure that opportunities for the provision of guidance are not inadvertently missed.


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