A parent-completed respiratory questionnaire for 1-year-old children: repeatability

Arch Dis Child. 2007 Oct;92(10):861-5. doi: 10.1136/adc.2007.117978. Epub 2007 May 14.


Background and aims: There are few standardised questionnaires for the assessment of respiratory symptoms in preschool children. We have developed and tested the short-term repeatability of a postal questionnaire on respiratory symptoms for 1-year-old children.

Methods: A newly developed postal questionnaire for the assessment of wheeze and other respiratory symptoms was sent to parents of a population-based random sample of 4300 children aged 12-24 months. After an interval of 3 months, a random sample of 800 respondents received the questionnaire a second time. The responses were compared using Cohen's kappa (kappa) to assess agreement corrected for chance.

Results: The first questionnaire was returned by 3194 (74%) families, the second one by 460/800 (58%). Repeatability was excellent (kappa 0.80-0.96) for questions on household characteristics, environmental exposures and family history, good (kappa 0.61-0.80) for questions on prevalence, severity and treatment of wheeze, and moderate (kappa 0.39-0.66) for chronic cough and upper respiratory symptoms.

Conclusions: This short postal questionnaire designed for use in population-based studies has excellent repeatability for family and household characteristics and good repeatability for questions on wheeze. Short-term changes in symptom status might be responsible for variable answers on recent chronic cough and upper respiratory symptoms. Overall, the questionnaire is a valuable instrument for community-based research on respiratory symptoms in 1 to 2-year-old children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Respiration Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*