Health-related quality of life in childhood disorders: a modified focus group technique to involve children.
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OBJECTIVES: Qualitative methodology has been under-utilized in child health research due to lack of a specific set of instruments. The objective of this study was to develop a child-centred qualitative research methodology to facilitate direct exploration of health-related quality of life (HRQL) issues and to identify the quality of life elements in pre-adolescent children with a chronic medical condition. STUDY DESIGN: Purposeful stratified sampling of children, ages 6-12, who function in a regular school class, with active epilepsy who were assembled in small focus groups. The groups met in four phases and were led by moderators who probed preset open questions and activities. RESULTS: The study demonstrated that our modified focus groups process was a powerful exploratory experience eliciting meaningful and important issues in quality of life beyond what parents and health professionals expected, and helped identify HRQL elements in childhood epilepsy. CONCLUSION: Modified focus groups are appropriate and suitable to explore quality of life issues in pre-adolescent children with a chronic medical condition. The process is feasible and trustworthy.
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