Expectations, Goals, and Perceived Effectiveness of Child Health Supervision: A Study of Mothers in a Pediatric Practice

Tina L. Cheng, Carol Bigelow, Judith A. Savageau, Evan Charney, Thomas G. Dewitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the study was to assess parent expectations and goals in child health supervision and variability by socioeconomic status (SES), family size, social support, and pediatrician. Home interviews were conducted with mothers and their pediatricians were surveyed. Two hundred mothers with at least one child age 2-3 years who see one of five pediatricians in a staff model health maintenance organization were asked to participate. Mothers' and pediatricians' goals in the following seven areas of health supervision were assessed: biomedical, development, behavior, family functioning, safety education, and interpersonal and system interaction. Mothers stated physicians were their main source of parenting information. Assurance of physical health and normal development were more important than discussion of behavioral, family, or safety issues. Mothers of low SES were more likely to feel that physical aspects of health should be the focus and were less interested in psychosocial issues. Physicians stressed interpersonal, safety, and behavioral goals more than mothers. Individual physician responses did not predict the responses of mothers in their practice. Our data suggest either that mothers do not feel that psychosocial and safety issues are the highest priorities in health supervision or that physicians are not effectively reaching mothers on these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalClinical pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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