Gomersall, Tim, Spencer, Sarah, Basarir, Hasan, Tsuchiya, Aki, Clegg, Judy, Sutton, Anthea and Dickinson, Kath (2015) Measuring quality of life in children with speech and language difficulties: a systematic review of existing approaches. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 50 (4). pp. 416-435. ISSN 1368-2822


Children's and adolescent's speech and language difficulties (SaLD) can affect various domains of quality of life (QoL), and speech and language therapy interventions are critical to improving QoL. Systematically measuring QoL outcomes in this population is highly complex due to factors such as heterogeneity in impairments and differing targets during intervention. However, measurements of QoL are increasingly required by healthcare commissioners and policy-makers to inform resource allocation.

To review the use of QoL measures in research involving children (age ≤ 18 years) with SaLD.
Methods & Procedures

A systematic review was undertaken. A systematic search across various databases was performed. Information on the methodological details of each relevant study, along with descriptions of the QoL measures employed, were extracted into standardized data extraction forms. Findings were discussed in a narrative synthesis.
Outcomes & Results

Twenty-one relevant studies were identified that deal with a range of subpopulations of children with SaLD. For the most part, generic QoL measures were used, although there was little convergence on the type of QoL measures employed throughout the literature. Five studies utilized preference-based QoL measures, including the 16D/17D, HUI3, EQ-5D and QWB-SA. Of these measures, the HUI3 demonstrated the most promising discriminant validity, although the preference weights for this measure were generated with adults.
Conclusions & Implications

QoL among children with SaLD is not yet being captured in a systematic way. The HUI3 measure appears to show some promise for generating relevant preference-based QoL estimates, although further testing of the measure is required.

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