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01-06-2007 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2007

Quality of Life Research 5/2007

Parent-proxy and child self-reported health-related quality of life: using qualitative methods to explain the discordance

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 5/2007
Elise Davis, Caroline Nicolas, Elizabeth Waters, Kay Cook, Lisa Gibbs, Angela Gosch, Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer



Although parent-proxy reports of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are only moderately correlated with child reported HRQOL, it remains unknown why these scores differ. The aim of this study was to use a qualitative methodology to examine why parents and children report different levels of HRQOL.


The sample consisted of 15 parent–child pairs. A think-aloud technique was used where parents and children were given a generic HRQOL instrument (KIDSCREEN) and instructed to share their thoughts with the interviewer. Qualitative analyses were conducted to assess whether parents and children base their answer on different experiences or reasoning, have different response styles, or interpret the items differently.


There was discordance between parents and children, in terms of rating scale and in terms of the reasoning for their answer. Children tended to have different response styles to parents, where for example, children tended to provide extreme scores (highest or lowest score) and base their response on one single example, more than parents. Parents and children interpreted the meaning of the items very similarly.


This study provides evidence to suggest that discordance among parent-child pairs on KIDSCREEN scores may be as a result of different reasoning and different response styles, rather than interpretation of items. These findings have important implications when parent-proxy reported HRQOL is used to guide clinical/treatment decisions.

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