Communication Survey Published by LAUNCH Colleagues

Examining Antecedents of Caregivers’ Access to Early Childhood Developmental Screening: Implications for Campaigns Promoting Use of Services in Appalachian Ohio

Benjamin R. Bates, PhD1Dawn Graham, PhD1Katie Striley, MA1Spencer Patterson, PhD2Aarti Arora, MA1Jane Hamel-Lambert, PhD1 1Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA

2CrowdCare Foundation, Provo, UT, USA

Benjamin R. Bates, School of Communication Studies, Ohio University, Lasher Hall, 47 West Union Street, Athens, OH 45701, USA; e-mail: batesb@ohio.edu.

Abstract

Although developmental delays are common in the United States, only about one third of developmental delays are identified before a child enters school. As challenging as use of developmental screening is on a national basis, the Appalachian region faces extreme lack of screening, diagnosis, and treatment for developmental delay. Local health care providers attribute this lack to poor parent understanding and have called for communication interventions to educate caregivers. This investigation sought to understand the antecedents of Appalachian caregivers’ intentions to access developmental screening and services for their children as formative research for a communication-based intervention. The investigation was grounded by the health belief model. Surveys completed by 366 caregivers were used to model antecedents to behavioral intention. Perceived severity, perceived benefits, and self-efficacy were found to be the strongest predictors of intention to access developmental screening. Implications for a communication-based intervention are provided.