Parents Can Help in Children's Drug Trials

They are accurate reporters of how kids are faring, study finds

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MONDAY, April 10, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Because children are sometimes unavailable when it comes to reporting on their own quality of life during or after drug trials, researchers often turn to a parent's report instead.

Now, a new study finds that these parental assessments are reliable sources of information on a child's health-related quality of life (HRQL) if children are unable to complete the assessments themselves, according to a U.S. study in the May 15 issue of Cancer.

The study from St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., included 199 children assessed either during or after cancer treatment and 108 healthy children. All the children and their parents filled out HRQL assessments.

The researchers found that in each of the 10 HRQL measures, parents and children provided similar answers. This correlation in answers was most consistent in families with cancer. However, parents of cancer patients tended to report lower physical function and greater physical challenges than their children.

The study also found that the parents of healthy children significantly overestimated most HRQL measures.

"Although it would be preferable to obtain data from both informants, data can be obtained with reasonable confidence from either parent or child if only one informant is available," the study authors wrote.

Previous evidence suggested that parents were not reliable reporters of their children's HRQL. However, that evidence was limited by inadequate study designs, said the researchers of this new study.

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more about healthcare quality.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, April 10, 2006


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