The proxy problem: child report versus parent report in health-related quality of life research

Qual Life Res. 1998 Jul;7(5):387-97. doi: 10.1023/a:1008801802877.


This study evaluates the agreement between child and parent reports on children's health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a representative sample of 1,105 Dutch children (age 8-11 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 emotions and negative emotions. The Pearson correlations between the child and parent reports were between 0.44 and 0.61 (p < 0.001). The intraclass correlations were between 0.39 and 0.62. On average, the children reported a significantly lower HRQoL than their parents on the physical complaints, motor functioning, autonomy, cognitive functioning and positive emotions scales (paired t-test: p < 0.05). Agreement on all of the scales was related to the magnitude of the HRQoL scores and to some background variables (gender, age, temporary illness and visiting a physician). According to multitrait-multimethod analyses, both the child and parent reports proved to be valid.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sick Role
  • Surveys and Questionnaires