Health related quality of life in 3 and 4 year old children and their parents: preliminary findings about a new questionnaire.
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BACKGROUND: Few measures of health related quality of life exist for use with preschool aged children. The objective of this study was to assess reliability and validity of a new multidimensional generic measure of health-related quality of life developed for use with preschool children. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey sent to parents as their child turned 3 1/2 years of age. The setting was the province of British Columbia, Canada. Patients included all babies admitted to tertiary level neonatal intensive care units (NICU) at birth over a 16-month period, and a consecutive sample of healthy babies. The main outcome measure was a new full-length questionnaire consisting of 3 global items and 10 multi-item scales constructed to measure the physical and emotional well-being of toddlers and their families. RESULTS: The response rate was 67.9%. 91% (NICU) and 84% (healthy baby) of items correlated with their own domain above the recommended standard (0.40). 97% (NICU) and 87% (healthy baby) of items correlated more highly (> or = 2 S.E.) with their hypothesized scale than with other scales. Cronbach's alpha coefficients varied between.80 and.96. Intra-class correlation coefficients were above.70. Correlations between scales in the new measure and other instruments were moderate to large, and were stronger than between non-related domains. Statistically significant differences in scale scores were observed between the NICU and healthy baby samples, as well as between those diagnosed with a health problem requiring medical attention in the past year versus those with no health problems. CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary results indicate the new measure demonstrates acceptable reliability and construct validity in a sample of children requiring NICU care and a sample of healthy children. However, further development work is warranted.
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