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Pediatrics. 1999 Nov;104(5 Pt 2):1176-81.

Concurrent child health status and maternal recall of events in infancy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Maternal and Child Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. mmccormi@sph.harvard.edu



Obtaining information on children's health and health events is heavily dependent on maternal report. Experience as to what factors influence accuracy of reporting varies, and few studies have examined the influence of current child health status on recall.


A prospective cohort study involving 1833 children who were assessed in infancy and at 8 to 10 years of age was conducted to assess maternal reports of birth weight, gestational age, neonatal transport, length of neonatal hospitalization, and rehospitalizations in the first year compared with data collected in infancy overall, and as a function of concurrent child functional health status, socioemotional health, and ratings of child health.


Maternal recall of neonatal events was accurate but not that of rehospitalizations in the first year. Concurrent child health problems affected accuracy but not sufficiently to make information unusable.


Maternal recall of neonatal events 8 to 10 years later is accurate; however, the influence of current child health status on recall may be important in research on the cognitive processes underlying health questionnaire responses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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