Self-Reported Quality of Life of Young Children With Conditions From Early Infancy: A Systematic Review
CONTEXT: There is little consistency in the use of instruments for measuring self-reported quality of life (QoL) in young children.
OBJECTIVE: To systematically review studies of self-reported QoL in children aged <12 years with congenital health conditions, and to examine the agreement between self- and proxy-reports.
DATA SOURCES: Literature databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsychINFO) were systematically searched, reference lists of eligible studies were scanned.
STUDY SELECTION: We included studies published in English between January 1989 and June 2013 which used validated instruments to assess self-reported QoL in children aged <12 years with a distinct congenital health condition identified in early infancy.
DATA EXTRACTION: We extracted data on study design, objective, sample characteristics, QoL assessment instrument, statistical techniques and results.
RESULTS: From 403 full-text articles assessed for eligibility, 50 studies underwent detailed review, and 37 were included in a narrative synthesis. Children’s self-reported QoL was assessed by using a variety of generic and/or condition-specific instruments, with the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory being the most frequently used (25% [9 studies]). Regardless of the condition or the instrument used, children often reported QoL similar to the reference population, except for lower scores in the physical functioning/health domain. There were differences between younger and older age groups according to QoL domain. The child’s perception of QoL differed from that of his or her parents, in particular for subjective domains such as emotional functioning, and these differences were age related. The main limitation of the review resulted from the lack of published studies on self-reported QoL in young children, in particular, lacking both self-reports and proxy reports. Existing studies demonstrated wide variability in the QoL instruments used and approaches to statistical analyses, lack of information about the formation of the study sample (response rate; comparison of responders and nonresponders) and low sample sizes in the age group of interest.
CONCLUSIONS: The reviewed studies demonstrated that, even for younger children, both child and parent perspectives are essential to understanding the impact of a condition on a child’s QoL.
- Accepted June 25, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics