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21-03-2018 | Review | Uitgave 7/2018 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 7/2018

Preference-based measures to obtain health state utility values for use in economic evaluations with child-based populations: a review and UK-based focus group assessment of patient and parent choices

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 7/2018
Jane L. Wolstenholme, Danielle Bargo, Kay Wang, Anthony Harnden, Ulla Räisänen, Lucy Abel
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-018-1831-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



No current guidance is available in the UK on the choice of preference-based measure (PBM) that should be used in obtaining health-related quality of life from children. The aim of this study is to review the current usage of PBMs for obtaining health state utility values in child and adolescent populations, and to obtain information on patient and parent–proxy respondent preferences in completing PBMs in the UK.


A literature review was conducted to determine which instrument is most frequently used for child-based economic evaluations and whether child or proxy responses are used. Instruments were compared on dimensions, severity levels, elicitation and valuation methods, availability of value sets and validation studies, and the range of utility values generated. Additionally, a series of focus groups of parents and young people (11–20 years) were convened to determine patient and proxy preferences.


Five PBMs suitable for child populations were identified, although only the Health Utilities Index 2 (HUI2) and Child Heath Utility 9D (CHU-9D) have UK value sets. 45 papers used PBMs in this population, but many used non-child-specific PBMs. Most respondents were parent proxies, even in adolescent populations. Reported missing data ranged from 0.5 to 49.3%. The focus groups reported their experiences with the EQ-5D-Y and CHU-9D. Both the young persons’ group and parent/proxy groups felt that the CHU-9D was more comprehensive but may be harder for a proxy to complete. Some younger children had difficulty understanding the CHU-9D questions, but the young persons’ group nonetheless preferred responding directly.


The use of PBMs in child populations is increasing, but many studies use PBMs that do not have appropriate value sets. Parent proxies are the most common respondents, but the focus group responses suggest it would be preferred, and may be more informative, for older children to self-report or for child–parent dyads to respond.

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