Cognitive assessment of very low birth weight infants using the Dutch version of the PARCA-R parent questionnaire

Early Hum Dev. 2014 Dec;90(12):897-900. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2014.10.004. Epub 2014 Nov 4.


Objective: Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants are at an increased risk of long-term cognitive impairment. Early identification and timely interventions are important. We aimed to validate the Dutch version of the revised Parent Report of Children's Abilities (PARCA-R) questionnaire.

Methods: The subjects were survivors from the Belgian participating centers to the NIRTURE trial. As part of a study-related follow-up, PARCA-R was sent out at the age of 2 years. As part of a normal hospital follow-up, these infants were assessed by the Bayley Scales of Infant Development - second edition (BSID-II) at the age of 9, 18 and 36 months. MRI was performed at term in the group of VLBW infants of ZOL Genk as standard care.

Results: PARCA-R was sent out to 193 surviving infants. BSID-II was performed in 36% (n=70) at 9 months, in 30% (n=58) at 18 months and in 12% (n=23) at 36 months. MRI was available for 32 infants. We received 86 responses to the PARCA-R. Parent report composite (PRC) scores were significantly correlated with the Mental Development Index (MDI) (p<0.0001 (9 months); p=0.003 (18 months); p=0.01 (36 months)). PRC scores were significantly lower in those with an abnormal MRI (92 vs.124; p=0.04).

Conclusion: We support the use of the PARCA-R as a time and cost efficient alternative for identifying cognitive delay.

Practice implications: We suggest that the combination of BSID-II, MRI at term and PARCA-R would be the ideal testing method for identifying VLBW infants at risk for cognitive developmental delay by two years of age.

Keywords: Cognitive assessment; Parent questionnaire; Preterm infants.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis*
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*