A qualitative investigation of school-aged children’s answers to items from a generic quality of life measure
Article first published online: 23 JUN 2006
Child: Care, Health and Development
Volume 33, Issue 1, pages 83–89, January 2007
How to Cite
Cremeens, J., Eiser, C. and Blades, M. (2007), A qualitative investigation of school-aged children’s answers to items from a generic quality of life measure. Child: Care, Health and Development, 33: 83–89. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2006.00665.x
- Issue published online: 23 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 23 JUN 2006
- Accepted for publication 28 April 2006
- cognitive interviewing;
- health assessment;
- quality of life
Background The development of instruments to measure child self-reported quality of life (QOL) is dependent on whether children can understand the concepts behind items. Researchers need more information on how children are interpreting and answering items. This paper aims to investigate the strategies school-aged children use to answer QOL items.
Methods A generic 30-item QOL measure (the TedQL) was administered to 266 healthy children (5–6, 7–9 years old). Children were asked to ‘think aloud’ while answering a selection of 10 TedQL items (n = 4 ability, n = 4 social, n = 2 mood items), and their responses were recorded verbatim.
Results The strategies children reported using when answering items were coded into five categories: (1) social comparisons; (2) stable character references; (3) concrete examples; (4) other reasons; or (5) no reason given. Concrete examples were used most frequently by children. Strategy type was dependent on age, with 7–9-year-olds reporting social comparisons and concrete examples more frequently than 5–6-year-olds. Five-to-six-year-olds gave no reasons for their response choices more frequently than 7–9-year-olds. Strategy type also differed by item type, with social comparisons used more frequently for ability items, and stable character references for social items. However, concrete examples were used consistently highly across ability and social items.
Conclusions Children aged 5–9 years most commonly report using concrete examples of specific instances when answering QOL items. However, strategy use varies as a function of age and types of items. Our results highlight the importance of keeping in mind children’s developmental age when interpreting responses from child QOL instruments.