English conference proceeding

Theunissen, N.C.M., Vogels, A.G.C., Koopman, H.M., Verrips, G.H., Zwinderman, A.H., Verloove-Vanhorick, S.P., & Wit, J.M. (1998). The proxy problem: Child report versus parent report in health related quality of life research. Second Dutch Conference on Psychology & Health, Rolduc, Kerkrade, 25-27 May, 205.


Aim of the study is to evaluate the agreement between child and parent reports on children’s Health related Quality of Life (HrQOL) in a representative sample of 1105 Dutch children (age 8 to 11 years old). Both children and their parents completed a 56 item questionnaire (TACQOL). The questionnaire contains seven eight-item scales: physical complaints, motor functioning, autonomy, cognitive functioning, social functioning, positive and negative emotions. The instrument defines HrQOL as the affective evaluation of Health Status.
Results: The Pearson correlations between child and parent reports were between 0.44 to 0.61 (p<0.001). Intraclass correlation between child and parent reports was low ( 0.25) on the physical complaints scale. Children on average reported significantly lower HrQOL than parents on the physical complaints, motor functioning, autonomy, cognitive functioning, and positive emotions scales (paired t-test: p<0.05). Agreement on all scales was related to the height of the HrQOL scores and to some background variables (gender, age, temporary illness, visiting a physician). According to Multitrait-Multimethod analyses, both child and parent reports proved to be valid. Child reports were most valid as an indication of physical complaints, motor functioning, autonomy and cognitive functioning, whereas parent reports were most valid as an indicator of social and emotional functioning. In conclusion, the parent report may provide a substitute for children’s HrQOL at a group level, but we have shown that large differences can exist in proxy agreement on individual child-parent level.


health related quality of life; health status; proxy; child report; parent report;

picture of N.C.M. Theunissen

Last updated on 12 February, 2015.