Validation of the Proxy Version of Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool in Children Receiving Cancer Treatments
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OBJECTIVES: Primary objectives were to evaluate the interrater reliability and validity of proxy-report Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi) in children with cancer and pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients. Secondary objective was to describe the interrater reliability of each SSPedi item. METHODS: Respondents were children aged eight to 18 years with cancer or HSCT recipients, and their parents or guardians. We enrolled two pediatric respondent groups. The more symptomatic group was receiving active treatment for cancer, admitted to hospital, and expected to be in a hospital three days later. The less symptomatic group either was in maintenance therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia or had completed cancer treatments. Convergent validity was evaluated by comparing proxy-reported mucositis, nausea and vomiting, pain, and total SSPedi scores, with child self-reported validated scales, and we hypothesized fair correlations. Discriminant validity was evaluated by comparing proxy-reported total SSPedi scores between groups. Interrater reliability of each SSPedi item was evaluated. RESULTS: Four hundred thirty-nine child and parent or guardian pairs were recruited. Mean difference in proxy-reported SSPedi scores between the more and less symptomatic groups was 8.2, 95% CI 6.6-9.8. All hypothesized relationships among measures were observed. Intraclass correlation coefficients for SSPedi items ranged from 0.34 (problems with thinking) to 0.80 (diarrhea). CONCLUSION: Proxy-report SSPedi is reliable and valid in children aged 8 years to 18 years with cancer and HSCT recipients. Future work should support proxy-reported symptom assessment in clinical settings where children are not able to self-report or communicate bothersome symptoms.
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