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PLoS One. 2017 Dec 21;12(12):e0187750. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187750. eCollection 2017.

The added value of a family-centered approach to optimize infants' social-emotional development: A quasi-experimental study.

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Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.



Family-centered care (FCC) has been related to positive healthcare outcomes in pediatric care. Our aim was to assess whether an FCC approach also leads to better and earlier identification of social-emotional problems and less child psychosocial problems at age 18 months.


In a quasi-experimental study within routine well-child care in the Netherlands, we compared those regions in which an FCC approach was implemented (FCC-JointStart) to those regions with "care-as-usual" (CAU), including all children. In all regions, professionals performed well-child visits (2-18 months) and assessed social-emotional problems, or risks developing these, by rating outcomes of assessments as "not optimal" or as "a problem." We compared FCC-JointStart and CAU regarding the rates of newly identified (risks for) social-emotional problems, the pace of identification over time, and the child's psychosocial wellbeing at eighteen months as measured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). For participants that received extra care, we compared FCC-JointStart and CAU regarding the severity of parent-reported problems. Parents were blinded, professionals were not.


5658 parents (68%) agreed to participate in the study. In the FCC-JointStart group, risks were identified more frequently, though differences were small (24.7% versus 22.0%, odds ratio (95%-confidence interval) adjusted for confounders: 1.44 (0.96; 2.18), Phi = .03). Risks were also identified earlier (p = .008), and additional care was provided to more severe cases than in CAU. Effect sizes r ranged from 0.17 (PSBC) to 0.22 (FAD). CBCL scores at 18 months did not differ between groups.


FFC-JointStart may contribute to more and earlier identification of risks for social-emotional problems and of families that need additional care, but not to fewer child psychosocial problems at age 18 months.


Netherlands Trial Register NTR2681.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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