, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 501-512

Parental quality of life and recurrent ENT infections in their children: development of a questionnaire

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During the first 4 years of life, children develop ear, nose and throat (ENT) infections because their immune system is not fully mature. Some of them will develop a recurrence and repetition of these episodes might have impact on the parents' quality of life. Based on a literature review, face to face interviews with parents and meetings with a paediatrician, a 17 item French questionnaire has been devised in order to evaluate the specific impairment of parents' quality of life during a winter season. Cultural adaptations were made for Italy, Germany, Portugal and the Czech Republic. This questionnaire was completed by 1,214 parents in a longitudinal survey. The questionnaire was reduced to 14 items and three scores were identified through principal component analysis: an emotional score (eight items), a daily disturbance score (six items) and a global score (14 items). Construct validity was confirmed through multitrait analysis and internal consistency reliability confirmed using Cronbach's α. The emotional score was found to be linked to the number and type of ENT episodes while the daily disturbance score was linked to social consequences. The global score was linked to both aspects, demonstrating the clinical validity. This questionnaire is therefore able to measure the cumulative effect of recurrence of children's ENT infections on their parents' quality of life in France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and the Czech Republic.