Assessing the validity of the Baby Pediatric Symptom Checklist using a nationally representative household survey

Published:November 06, 2022DOI:



      The Baby Pediatric Symptom Checklist (BPSC) is a screening tool developed for detecting behavioral or emotional concerns among parents of children younger than 18 months. Nationally representative survey data have not yet been used to assess the validity of the BPSC, nor to evaluate its appropriateness for use among children between 18 and 23 months old. The current study assesses the validity of the BPSC using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).


      Data from the 2019 NHIS were used to evaluate the 12-item BPSC screening tool among a nationally representative sample of children 2-23 months. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and differential item functioning (DIF) were used to assess construct and predictive validity and test how response items differed by selected sociodemographics. Quantile regression was used to calculate 50th, 70th, and 90th percentiles for age-based normative curves of the previously established domains of irritability, inflexibility, and difficulty with routines.


      A three-factor CFA produced comparable results to the original study. Tests of DIF did not reveal any significant effects for the child's sex, race and Hispanic origin, household urbanization level, number of children in family, or respondent type (mother, father, other). In addition, DIF was not found between children aged 2-17 months and 18-23 months. Age-based normative data were calculated for each subscale.


      The use of the BPSC in a nationally representative survey produced findings comparable to those of the original-validation study. The NHIS can be used to track BPSC scores over time at the population-level.


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