Validation of the Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool in Children Receiving Cancer Treatments
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Background: The objective was to evaluate the reliability and validity of the self-report Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi) from the perspective of children with cancer and pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients. Methods: In this multicenter study, respondents were children age eight to 18 years who had cancer or had received HSCT, and their parents. Two different child respondent populations were targeted. More symptomatic respondents were receiving active treatment for cancer, admitted to the hospital, and expected to be in the hospital three days later. Less symptomatic respondents were in maintenance therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia or had completed cancer therapy. Children completed SSPedi and then responded to validated self-report measures of mucositis, nausea, pain, and global quality of life. Children in the more symptomatic group repeated SSPedi and a global symptom change scale three days later. Parent proxy-report was optional. Reliability was evaluated using intraclass correlations while convergent validity was evaluated using Spearman correlations. Results: Of 502 children enrolled, 302 were in the more symptomatic group and 200 were in the less symptomatic group. Intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.88 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.82 to 0.92) for test-retest reliability and 0.76 (95% CI = 0.71 to 0.80) for inter-rater reliability. The mean difference in SSPedi scores between more and less symptomatic groups was 7.8 (95% CI = 6.4 to 9.2). SSPedi was responsive to change in global symptoms. All hypothesized relationships among measures were observed. Conclusions: SSPedi is a self-report symptom bother tool for children with cancer and HSCT recipients that is reliable, valid, and responsive to change. SSPedi can be used for clinical and research purposes. Future work should focus on integration into care delivery.
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