Quality of Life Research

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 739-754

First online:

Characteristics of Health-related Self-report Measures for Children Aged Three to Eight Years: A Review of the Literature

  • Joanne CremeensAffiliated withDivision of Behavioral Medicine, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Email author 
  • , Christine EiserAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Sheffield
  • , Mark BladesAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Sheffield

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Aims: To review and make recommendations about the format and quality of health-related self-report measures for children aged 3–8 years. Methods: Literature searches used to identify measures of QOL, self-esteem, self-concept and mental health. The format (i.e., scale type, presentation style) and quality (i.e., item generation, reliability, validity, responsiveness) of measures were compared and evaluated. Results: Fifty three measures were identified: QOL (n = 25, 47%), self-esteem/concept (n = 15, 28%), mental health (n = 13, 25%). Likert scales were used most frequently to represent response choices (n = 34, 64%). The authors of 11 (21%) measures provided justification for their scale choice. Items were most commonly presented in written format (n = 24, 45%). Item content was generated from the respondent population in only 21 (40%) measures. Twenty-seven (51%) measures reported internal reliability between 0.70 and 0.90, and 12 (23%) reported reproducibility in this range. Although validity was reported for 48 (91%) measures, evidence for three or more aspects occurred for only 9 (17%). Eleven (21%) measures evidenced responsiveness to change. Conclusion: Authors should provide clearer evidence for reliability and responsiveness. Newly developed instruments need to meet established standards, and further studies should assess the impact of scale and presentation types on the psychometrics of measures.


Children Outcome measurement Quality of Life Review