Parents overestimate functioning of kids with GI malformations

Reuters Health Information: Parents overestimate functioning of kids with GI malformations

Parents overestimate functioning of kids with GI malformations

Last Updated: 2015-06-19

By Reuters Staff

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Parents of children with anorectal malformations and Hirschsprung's disease typically rate the children's emotional and physical functioning higher than the children do themselves, researchers report.

Earlier reports concerning children with other chronic conditions showed that parents tend to overrate the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of their healthy children, while underrating the health of their chronically ill child.

Dr. Esther E. Hartman from Tilburg University in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and colleagues compared parent proxy-reports with self-reports of 98 children with anorectal malformations (ARM) or Hirschsprung's disease (HD) and their 98 healthy siblings.

Whether or not they had ARM or HD, children reported significantly more pain and symptoms than their parents reported, the researchers report in Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, online May 20.

Children with ARM or HD, but not their healthy siblings, also reported significantly less positive emotions than their parents reported.

"In the context of healthcare delivery, healthcare professionals should ask the children themselves about possible (hidden) emotional problems," the researchers conclude.

"As parents and children each offer unique information," they add, "we agree with previous recommendations that HRQOL assessments should be completed by both children and parents as proxies."

Dr. Hartman did not respond to a request for comments.


J Ped Gastroenterol Nutr 2015.

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