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Developing and pretesting a new Patient Reported Outcome Measure for Paediatric Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalopathy (CFS/ME): Cognitive interviews with children

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number3:67
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Patient-Reported Outcomes
Issue number67
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 9 Nov 2019


There is a lack of patient derived, child specific outcome measures to capture what health outcomes are important to children with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalopathy (CFS/ME). We developed a new Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) for paediatric CFS/ME through qualitative research with children. This study aimed to pre-test the new measure through cognitive interviews with children with CFS/ME.

Cognitive interviews were undertaken in children’s homes or over Skype. The Three- Step Test-Interview (TSTI) method was used to assess the quality of the draft PROM with children with CFS/ME to identify problems with initial content and design and test modifications over subsequent interview rounds. Children were purposively sampled from a single specialist paediatric CFS/ME service in England.

Twenty-four children and their parents took part. They felt the new measure captured issues relevant to their condition and preferred it to the generic measures they completed in clinical assessment. Changes were made to item content and phrasing, timeframe and response options and tested through three rounds of interviews.

Cognitive interviews identified problems with the draft PROM, enabling us to make changes and then confirm acceptability in children aged 11-18. Further cognitive interviews are required with children 8-10 years old to examine the acceptability and content validity and provide evidence for age related cut offs of the new PROM to meet FDA standards. This study demonstrates the content validity of the new measure as relevant and acceptable for children with CFS/ME. The next stage is to undertake a psychometric evaluation to support the reduction of items, confirm the structure of the PROM and provide evidence of the data quality, reliability and validity.

    Research areas

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome/ Myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME), Children, Patient reported outcome measure (PROM), Qualitative, Cognitive interviews, Three step test interview (TSTI)

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