Aim: The increased survival of infants born at extremely low birthweight (ELBW) has been associated with significant morbidity, including higher rates of neurodevelopmental disability. However, formalized testing to evaluate these problems is both time-consuming and costly. The revised Functional Status questionnaire (FS-II) was designed to assess caregivers' perceptions of the functional status of children with chronic diseases.
Method: We evaluated the reliability and validity of the FS-II for ELBWinfants at 18 to 22 months corrected age using data from the US Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network (NRN). Exploratory factor analyses were conducted using data from the network's first follow-up study of 1080 children born in 1993 to 1994 (508 males, 572 females [53%]), and results were confirmed using data from the next network follow-up of 4022 children born in 1995 to 2000 (1864 males, 2158 females [54%]).
Results: Results suggest that a two-factor solution comprising measures of general health and independence is most appropriate for ELBW infants. These factors differed from those found among chronically ill children, and new, more appropriate scales are presented for screening ELBWsurvivors. Both scales demonstrated good internal consistency: Cronbach's a=0.87 for general health and a=0.75 for independence. Construct validity of the scales was assessed by comparing mean scores on the scales according to scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, second edition (BSID-II), and medical conditions.
Interpretation: As hypothesized, infants with greater functional impairments according to their BSID-II scores or medical conditions had lower scores on the general health and independence scales, supporting the validity of the scales.