Pragmatic Health Assessment in Early Childhood: The PROMIS® of Developmentally Based Measurement for Pediatric Psychology

J Pediatr Psychol. 2020 Apr 1;45(3):311-318. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsz094.


Objective: To illustrate the integration of developmental considerations into person-reported outcome (PRO) measurement development for application in early childhood pediatric psychology.

Methods: Combining the state-of-the-science Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) mixed-methods instrument development approach with considerations from developmental measurement science, we developed 12 PROMIS early childhood (PROMIS EC) parent report measures to evaluate common mental, social, and physical health outcomes for ages 1-5. Through this interdisciplinary effort, we identified key considerations for early childhood PROs that enable reliable and valid assessment within the real-world constraints of clinical care settings.

Results: Four key considerations are highlighted as key to this process: (a) Engage diverse content experts to identify meaningful and relevant constructs; (b) Balance salient features for early childhood with lifespan coherence of constructs; (c) Emphasize observable features across the typical/atypical spectrum; and (d) Ensure feasibility and relevancy for clinical and research application. Each consideration is discussed using exemplars from the PROMIS EC measurement development process.

Conclusions: PROMIS EC provides an illustration of how well-established PRO measures for youth can be adapted for younger children by incorporating developmental considerations. This process and resulting key considerations provide clinicians and researchers in the field of pediatric psychology with guidance for adapting PROs to early childhood, enabling critical continuity in domains of high salience to pediatric psychologists.

Keywords: developmental perspectives; quality of life; research design and methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires