Childhood illness or disability can affect the quality of life (QoL) of the child’s primary caregiver. Our aim was to identify, describe the content and systematically review the psychometric properties of condition-specific QoL questionnaires for caregivers of children.
Medline, PsycInfo, Embase, CINAHL, and the Cochrane library databases were searched from 1 January 1990 to 30 June 2011. Articles related to the development and measurement of caregiver QoL were screened to identify condition-specific questionnaires. The characteristics of the questionnaires were extracted, and their psychometric properties were evaluated using the consensus-based standards for the selection of health measurement instruments checklist with 4-point scale.
We identified 25 condition-specific caregiver QoL questionnaires covering 16 conditions. Conditions included atopic dermatitis, asthma, diabetes, oro-facial disorders, and two acute illnesses. Questionnaires were developed predominantly in high-income countries. Questionnaires had the highest quality rating for content validity, followed by hypothesis testing. Methodological quality was satisfactory for criterion validity; fair in reliability and responsiveness; and poor in internal consistency and structural validity.
The increasing number of questionnaires developed over time shows improved recognition of the importance of caregiver QoL. There is a paucity of QoL questionnaires for caregivers of otherwise healthy children suffering from physical injuries and acute conditions associated with significant caregiver burden. Cultural validation of existing and new questionnaires in lower-income countries is necessary. Data collected by condition-specific questionnaires can assist clinicians and health economists in estimating caregiver burden and the types of healthcare services caregivers require and may be useful for healthcare administrators to evaluate interventions.