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Validation of a parent-proxy quality of life questionnaire for paediatric chronic cough (PC-QOL)
  1. Peter A Newcombe1,2,
  2. Jeanie K Sheffield2,
  3. Elizabeth F Juniper3,
  4. Helen L Petsky4,
  5. Carol Willis4,
  6. Anne B Chang4,5
  1. 1School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  2. 2School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  3. 3QOL Tech, UK
  4. 4Queensland Children's Respiratory Centre and Queensland Children's Medical Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  5. 5Child Health Division, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Newcombe, School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences. School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, 11 Salisbury Road, Ipswich, Queensland 4305, Australia; newc{at}


Background Quality of life (QOL) measures are an important patient-relevant outcome measure for clinical studies. Currently there is no fully validated cough-specific QOL measure for paediatrics. The objective of this study was to validate a cough-specific QOL questionnaire for paediatric use.

Method 43 children (28 males, 15 females; median age 29 months, IQR 20–41 months) newly referred for chronic cough participated. One parent of each child completed the 27-item Parent Cough-Specific QOL questionnaire (PC-QOL), and the generic child (Pediatric QOL Inventory 4.0 (PedsQL)) and parent QOL questionnaires (SF-12) and two cough-related measures (visual analogue score and verbal category descriptive score) on two occasions separated by 2–3 weeks. Cough counts were also objectively measured on both occasions.

Results Internal consistency for both the domains and total PC-QOL at both test times was excellent (Cronbach alpha range 0.70–0.97). Evidence for repeatability and criterion validity was established, with significant correlations over time and significant relationships with the cough measures. The PC-QOL was sensitive to change across the test times and these changes were significantly related to changes in cough measures (PC-QOL with: verbal category descriptive score, rs=−0.37, p=0.016; visual analogue score, rs=−0.47, p=0.003). Significant correlations of the difference scores for the social domain of the PC-QOL and the domain and total scores of the PedsQL were also noted (rs=0.46, p=0.034).

Conclusion The PC-QOL is a reliable and valid outcome measure that assesses QOL related to childhood cough at a given time point and measures changes in cough-specific QOL over time.

  • Quality of life
  • validation
  • paediatric cough
  • clinical impact
  • psychology
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  • Funding The study was supported by a Royal Children's Hospital Foundation Grant (Brisbane, Australia). AC is supported by an NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship (Grant #545216).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Royal Children's Hospital Human Ethics Committee, Brisbane, Australia.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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