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01.12.2012 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 1/2012

An observational study of patient versus parental perceptions of health-related quality of life in children and adolescents with a chronic pain condition: who should the clinician believe?

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes > Ausgabe 1/2012
Thomas R Vetter, Cynthia L Bridgewater, Gerald McGwin Jr
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1477-7525-10-85) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

All three authors declare that they have no financial, consultant, institutional or other relationships that resulted in bias or a conflict of interest in the conducting or reporting this study. The authors have no competing interests.

Authors’ contribution

All three authors were involved in drafting the article or critically revising it for important intellectual content, and all authors approved the final version to be submitted for publication. As the study principal investigator, TRV had full access to all of the data in the study, and he takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. TRV and CLB participated in study conception and design; CLB was responsible for acquisition of data; and TRV and GM performed the analysis and interpretation of data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Previous pediatric studies have observed a cross-informant variance in patient self-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL) versus parent proxy-reported HRQoL. This study assessed in older children and adolescents with a variety of chronic pain conditions: 1) the consistency and agreement between pediatric patients’ self-report and their parents’ proxy-report of their child’s HRQoL; 2) whether this patient-parent agreement is dependent on additional demographic and clinical factors; and 3) the relationship between pediatric patient HRQoL and parental reported HRQoL.


The 99 enrolled patients (mean age 13.2 years, 71% female, 81% Caucasian) and an accompanying parent completed the PedsQLTM 4.0 and 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey Version 2 (SF-36v2) at the time of their initial appointment in a pediatric chronic pain medicine clinic. Patients’ and parents’ total, physical, and psychosocial HRQoL scores were analyzed via an intra-class correlation coefficient, Spearman’s correlation coefficient, Wilcoxon signed rank test, and Bland-Altman plot. A multivariable linear regression model was used to evaluate the association between clinical and demographic variables and the difference in patient and proxy scores for the Total Scale Score on the PedsQL™.


With the exception of the psychosocial health domain, there were no statistically significant differences between pediatric patients’ self-report and their parents’ proxy-report of their child’s HRQoL. However, clinically significant patient-parent variation in pediatric HRQoL was observed. Differences in patient-parent proxy PedsQL™ Total Scale Score Scores were not significantly associated with patient age, gender, race, intensity and duration of patient’s pain, household income, parental marital status, and the parent’s own HRQoL on the SF-36v2. No significant relationship existed among patients’ self-reported HRQoL (PedsQL™), parental proxy-reports of the child’s HRQoL, and parents’ own self-reported HRQoL on the SF-36v2.


We observed clinically significant variation between pediatric chronic pain patients’ self-reports and their parents’ proxy-reports of their child’s HRQoL. While whenever possible the pediatric chronic pain patient’s own perspective should be directly solicited, equal attention and merit should be given to the parent’s proxy-report of HRQoL. To do otherwise will obviate the opportunity to use any discordance as the basis for a therapeutic discussion about the contributing dynamic with in parent-child dyad.
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