Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Validation of the StimQ2: A parent-report measure of cognitive stimulation in the home

Cates, C. B., Roby, E., Canfield, C. F., Johnson, M., Raak, C., Weisleder, A., Dreyer, B.P., & Mendelsohn, A. L. (2023). Validation of the StimQ2: A parent-report measure of cognitive stimulation in the home. PloS one, 18(7), e0286708.,

Access: FREE/Open Access

Download the full text: journal.pone.0286708

Publication year


study description


core topic(s)

Early Literacy , Early Relational Health , Pediatric Primary Care

Population Characteristics

Medical Providers , Poverty/Low-Income

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Clinic-Based Programs and Interventions , Parent-Child Relationships/Interactions


Here, we examined the reliability and validity of the StimQ2, a parent-report measure of the cognitive home environment that can be delivered efficiently and at low cost.



outcomes evaluated

StimQ to assess cognitive stimulation in the home, children’s social, cognitive, and language development were assessed at each time point using a combination of parent-report and direct observation


Pediatric primary care intervention


Cross-sectional analyses were conducted using data from a larger study of a pediatric primary care intervention promoting child development and responsive parenting—The Bellevue Project for Early Language, Literacy, and Education Success (The BELLE Project). Mother-infant dyads were enrolled during their postpartum stay in the level I newborn nursery of a large urban public hospital between November 2005, and October 2008.

sample size

N = 546


  • StimQ: to assess cognitive stimulation in the home
  • Infant communication: Early communication was assessed at child age 6 months using four items from the “Emotion and eye gaze” subscale and two items from the “Communication” subscale of the Communication and Symbolic Behavior DP (CSBS DP) checklist, an assessment of predictors of language development such as eye gaze, gestures, understanding, and play.
  • Infant temperament: Infant temperament was assessed at 6 months using the Revised Infant Temperament Questionnaire Short Form (SITQ).
  • Toddler cognitive ability: the cognitive subtest of the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development
  • Toddler language ability: Child language ability was measured at 14 and 24 months using Preschool Language Scale-4th edition [79], which was administered in either Spanish or English depending on the primary language spoken in the home as reported by the parent present
  • Toddler social-emotional skills: At 14 and 24 months, socioemotional skills were assessed via mother interviews using three subscales from the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment-Revised (ITSEA): Imitation/Play, Attention, and Separation Distress


StimQ2 improves upon earlier versions of the instrument by removing outdated items, assessing additional domains of cognitive stimulation and providing new scoring systems.


Findings suggest that the StimQ2 is a reliable and valid measure of the cognitive home environment for children from infancy through the preschool period.


Substantial investment of funds, time, training of highly skilled staff, and subsequent data analyses are required to conduct these observations. Additionally, access to individuals’ homes must be granted; this poses a significant challenge and limitation, as some families may not feel comfortable letting researchers into their home. This introduces a potential bias, in that families reached using this method may be those more willing to grant visitors access to their homes.