A Clinical Study of Competency to Consent to Treatment in Pediatrics.
S. B. Billick, G. F. Woodward Burgert III, A. V. Downer and S. M. Bruni-Solhkhah,
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
29(3): 298-302, 2001.
A 19-item competency questionnaire for pediatric patients (CQ-Peds) was used
to evaluate competency to consent to treatment in pediatric outpatients and inpatients at two
university hospitals. Sixty-nine consecutive English-speaking pediatric outpatients were studied at
Hospital A, and 23 consecutive English-speaking pediatric inpatients were studied at Hospital B.
Demographic data were statistically analyzed using the chi-square test, and there were no
significant differences between the competent and incompetent groups (using CQ-Peds scores and
cutoffs). CQ-Peds scores correlated highly with age (r =.947, p >.003;
Outpatient Hospital A). Using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Pediatric Symptom
Checklist (PSC) as a screen for psychopathology, the presence of psychiatric disturbance, per
se, did not correlate with low CQ-Peds scores, nor was there a statistical difference
between children from Spanish-speaking households and those from English-speaking households
(Inpatient Hospital B). Overall, the children scored well on the CQ-Peds and demonstrated a good
appreciation for their illnesses and treatment. The CQ-Peds score correlated highly with the that
on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children Revised Edition (WISC-R) vocabulary,
comprehension, and similarities subtests and also with the Wide-Range Achievement Test-III
(WRAT-III) reading assessment score (Inpatient Hospital B).