Test-retest repeatability of child’s respiratory symptoms and perceived indoor air quality – comparing self- and parent-administered questionnaires

 
Jussi Lampi, Sari Ung-LankiPäivi Santalahti and Juha Pekkanen
 

Abstract

Background

Questionnaires can be used to assess perceived indoor air quality and symptoms in schools. Questionnaires for primary school aged children have traditionally been parent-administered, but self-administered questionnaires would be easier to administer and may yield as good, if not better, information. Our aim was to compare the repeatability of self- and parent-administered indoor air questionnaires designed for primary school aged pupils.

Methods

Indoor air questionnaire with questions on child’s symptoms and perceived indoor air quality in schools was sent to parents of pupils aged 7–12 years in two schools and again after two weeks. Slightly modified version of the questionnaire was administered to pupils aged 9–12 years in another two schools and repeated after a week. 351 (52%) parents and 319 pupils (86%) answered both the first and the second questionnaire. Test-retest repeatability was assessed with intra-class correlation (ICC) and Cohen’s kappa coefficients (k).

Results

Test-retest repeatability was generally between 0.4–0.7 (ICC; k) in both self- and parent-administered questionnaire. In majority of the questions on symptoms and perceived indoor air quality test-retest repeatability was at the same level or slightly better in self-administered compared to parent-administered questionnaire. Agreement of self- and parent administered questionnaires was generally < 0.4 (ICC; k) in reported symptoms and 0.4–0.6 (ICC; k) in perceived indoor air quality.

Conclusions

Children aged 9–12 years can give as, or even more, repeatable information about their respiratory symptoms and perceived indoor air quality than their parents. Therefore, it may be possible to use self-administered questionnaires in future studies also with children.

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