SummaryBackground In 1995 the Children's Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI) was developed as a tool to allow quality of life assessment of children with skin conditions. This initial questionnaire was in a written format.
Objectives Using the same validated questions, a full-colour cartoon version has been developed. The aim of this study was to validate this against the initial written questionnaire in a three-part study.
Methods The first part of the study piloted the use of both versions in an outpatient setting. One hundred and one children completed both versions of the CDLQI in a random order. A further 66 children completed the cartoon CDLQI in outpatients, and subsequently completed the cartoon version on the same day at home, which was returned by post. The scores were compared. In the second part, in more controlled conditions to eliminate parental and investigator bias, 107 children with current dermatological problems were administered both versions of the CDLQI in a random order. The scores were analysed, and time to complete each version, and the child and parental preferences, were recorded. The third part assessed compliance by asking 546 children recently reviewed in dermatology clinics to return a single completed postal CDLQI. Half of the children were given the text, and half the cartoon version.
Results The median age of participating children was 11 years. There was no significant difference in scores between the two versions in both parts 1 and 2, but the cartoon version was completed faster (median 90 s) than the written version (median 120 s) (P < 0·0001). Both children and their parents significantly preferred the cartoon version and found it easier to use. Forty-six per cent of the postal CDLQI questionnaires were returned; there was no difference in compliance between the two versions.
Conclusions The cartoon CDLQI is equivalent to the previously validated written CDLQI version, but is faster and easier for children to use, and is preferred by both children and parents.