Measuring quality of life in children with rhinoconjunctivitis☆☆☆★★★
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OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to develop, pretest, and validate a questionnaire to measure quality of life in children with seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR). METHODS (DEVELOPMENT STUDY): Thirty-four children with SAR were enrolled from summer camps, notices in the media, and an allergy clinic (Southern Ontario). After generating a pool of 48 potentially important quality of life items, the children identified the ones that they experienced with their SAR and scored each for bother (1 = a little bothered to 4 = extremely bothered). Items identified most frequently and with the highest bother score were included in the Paediatric Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (PRQLQ). The PRQLQ was pretested for ease completion and accuracy of understanding. RESULTS (DEVELOPMENT STUDY): The PRQLQ has 23 items in five domains (nose symptoms, eye symptoms, practical problems, other symptoms, and activities). Responses are given on a seven-point scale, and children are asked to score their experiences during the previous 7 days. METHODS (VALIDATION STUDY): Seventy-five children with symptomatic SAR were enrolled from notices in the media and a pediatric allergy clinic (Austin, Tex.). A single cohort design was used, with children assessed at 0, 1, and 3 weeks. The PRQLQ was administered to the children by a trained interviewer at 1 and 3 weeks. A conventional nasal symptom daily diary was completed for 1 week before each of these clinic visits. Global ratings were completed at the final visit. RESULTS (VALIDATION STUDY): In patients who were stable between clinic visits, the PRQLQ demonstrated good reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.93). The questionnaire was very responsive to change (p < 0.001) and was able to differentiate between patients who were in a stable clinical state and those whose clinical state changed between visits (p = 0.005). Correlations between the PRQLQ and diary scores were close to predicted and supported both the cross-sectional and longitudinal validity of the PRQLQ. CONCLUSIONS: The PRQLQ measures the quality of life impairments important to children with SAR. Children provide reliable and accurate responses, the measurement properties are strong, and the questionnaire can be used with confidence in clinical trials, clinical practice, and surveys.
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