BACKGROUND: The aim was to evaluate data quality and psychometric properties of an instrument for measurement of health-related quality of life: DISABKIDS Chronic Generic Module (DCGM-37) used in school-aged children with cancer.
METHODS: All school-children diagnosed with cancer in Sweden during a two-and-a-half year period were invited to participate in the study. Analysis was performed on combined data from two assessments, two and-a-half and five months after start of cancer treatment (n = 170). The instrument was examined with respect to feasibility, data quality, reliability and construct and criterion-based validity.
RESULTS: Missing items per dimension ranged from 0 to 5.3 percent, with a majority below three percent. Cronbach's alpha values exceeded 0.70 for all dimensions. There was support for the suggested groupings of items into dimensions for all but six of the 36 items of the DCGM-37 included in this study. The instrument discriminated satisfactorily between diagnoses reflecting treatment burden.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate satisfactory data quality and reliability of the DCGM-37 when used in children undergoing treatment for cancer. Evaluation of construct validity showed generally acceptable results, although not entirely supporting the suggested dimensionality. Continued psychometric evaluation in a larger sample of children during and after treatment for cancer is recommended.
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