Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Exploring longitudinal patterns of stability and change in relative developmental standing for children 12 - 60 months


Psychology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Exploring longitudinal patterns of stability and change in relative developmental standing from 12-to 60-months. Developmental screening instruments are designed to identify children in need of further assessment but these normed measures also provide information about a childs relative developmental standing at a particular time. This study uses longitudinal screening data to explore issues of individual change and stability in relative developmental status between the ages of one- to five years with the goal of determining if there are common statuses and trajectories over time. Families were recruited into a voluntary developmental screening program administered by a non-profit child maltreatment prevention organization. Age appropriate Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQs) were mailed to families at regular intervals. The ASQ screens development in five areas: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and social/emotional. Scores for each ASQ subscale are categorized based on norms into either, normal range or low range (2 or more standard deviations below mean). Completed ASQs were scored and reported back to parents. Results of 12,630 ASQs from 1806 infants (48.5% Female) who had at least five completed ASQs from the following time-points - 12M, 24M, 30M, 36M, 42M 48M, 54M or 60M were analyzed. Mean number completed ASQs per child was 7 (SD=1.4). Mean number completed ASQs per time-point was 1403 (SD=384). Category scores (Low or Normal) from each of the five ASQ areas were combined to create a composite, relative developmental standing categorization for each child at each time-point (6 possible categories). Status: Latent transition analysis (Lanza, et al., 2014) was used to identify sub-groups (statuses) and to determine the probability of changing status over time. A two-status solution emerged. Between 95-97% of children were classified as TYPICAL status at each time-point, while 3-5% fit the relatively DELAYED status at each time-point (Figure 1). Child sex was significantly related to initial status with males being significantly overrepresented in the DELAYED status at 12-months (p TYPICAL, were most common (53%) and 32% of shifts were negative (TYPICAL->DELAYED). While males were overrepresented in this shifters group (X2=14.1, p DELAYED -> TYPICAL. The probability of shifting was not equal across time-points and 55% of permanent status shifts occurred between the 18M and 24M time-points (Figure 2.). This exploratory study identified common longitudinal patterns of relative developmental status from one- to five-years and provided evidence that while status transition is rare, if transition does occur it most commonly happens between the ages of 18-24-months. Further, boys were more likely than girls to be in the DELAYED category at 12-months and more likely to shift from one status to another over time.

Conference Name

SRCD Biennial Conference

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