In studies of asthma in children, a common method is for the parents to complete questionnaires about their child's asthma symptoms. With longitudinal studies of asthma, children reach an age when they can complete the questionnaire themselves. The aim of this paper was to compare the prevalence of asthma symptoms as well as the agreement between responses to an asthma questionnaire completed by teenagers and their parents. As a part of the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden Study (OLIN) pediatric study, where 3345, 13-14-yr-old children completed an asthma questionnaire, 294 (84%) randomly selected parents also completed the questionnaire, which included the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of wheeze in the last 12 months, ever asthma, or physician diagnosed asthma as reported by the parents compared with the teenagers. However, the teenagers reported a significantly higher prevalence of wheeze during or after exercise. The absolute agreement was generally very high while the level of agreement (kappa-value) was slightly lower. The highest results in both absolute agreement and kappa-value, were reached by the questions on diagnosis of asthma (98.9% and 0.93), use of asthma medicines (95.5% and 0.78), and whether the child ever had had asthma (97.2% and 0.86), respectively. In conclusion, the agreement between the parents' and the teenagers' responses to the asthma questionnaire was good. The change in methodology from parental to self-completion of the questionnaire did not affect the results in the study.
Copyright (c) 2005 Blackwell Munksgaard