Objective: Insufficient research has established the measurement properties of the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Screener. This leaves unclear whether CSHCN Screener-based estimates reliably identify CSHCN. We used classical and modern test theory to establish the CSHCN Screener's internal psychometric properties.
Methods: Data came from the 2005-2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN), a nationally representative survey of US children (N = 359,154).
Results: Cronbach's α, a measure of internal reliability, equaled .76. Confirmatory factor analysis for ordered-categorical measures indicated that a single underlying trait that we label health-condition-complexity underlies CSHCN Screener responses. Item response theory showed that responses provide particularly precise measurement among children experiencing elevated health-condition-complexity trait levels.
Conclusions: Findings demonstrate that responses to the CSHCN Screener as used in the NS-CSHCN have good internal psychometric properties and include minimal random measurement error. Epidemiologists, clinicians and others can rely on CSHCN Screener responses to reliably identify CSHCN experiencing 1 or more of the 5 consequences included on the CSHCN Screener.
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