Parental and pediatric trainee knowledge of development

Victoria Shea, Mary Glenn Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the fund of knowledge about normal development and developmental disabilities of parents and pediatric residents. A 23-item questionnaire was administered to 91 parents of children who were being evaluated at the Division for Disorders of Development and Learning (DDDL) and to 20 pediatric residents at the University of North Carolina (UNO. The physicians-in-training were provided with an additional 26 questions on development, as well as a rating scale of “personal comfort” in discussing three specific developmental disabilities with parents (epilepsy, hyperactivity, and mental retardation)., On the series of identical questions, pediatric residents scored significantly better than parents; the mean number correct was 19.4/23 (residents) versus 15.9/23 (parents). However, in both groups there were notable errors. Incorrect responses by 25% or more of parents and/or physicians were labeled “common misconceptions.” Sixteen parent and 15 physician common misconceptions were identified in the areas of normal development and developmental disabilities. The pediatric residents revealed greater comfort in discussing the medical problem (epilepsy) than the two developmental problems (mental retardation and learning disabilities/hyperactivity). The study revealed important and similar gaps in the pediatric trainees' and parents' knowledge of development. These deficiencies need to be addressed in the training of pediatric residents in order to help them better understand the needs of families of developmental disabled and normal children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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