Can Young Children Provide Meaningful Input Into Their Wellbeing? Exploring the Utility of a Self-Report Measure for Child Wellbeing in Kenya and Rwanda
The OVC Wellbeing Tool is a widely used self-report measure of wellbeing for children ages 13–18. Catholic Relief Services adapted the tool for children who are 7–12 years old. Enumerators found that most children understood the revised questions.
Background: The OVC Wellbeing Tool (OWT) is a widely used, validated self-report measure of wellbeing for children ages 13–18. OVC programs report a need for an age-appropriate version of the OWT for younger children. However, the literature is mixed on whether younger children can understand and provide meaningful input on standardized questionnaires.
Methods: Two OVC programs, in Kenya and Rwanda, administered an adapted version of the OWT to children ages 7–12 (N = 593; n = 288 Kenya and n = 305 Rwanda). To ensure children understood the Likert-scale responses, pictorial representations of the responses were developed, along with standardized enumerator instructions for explaining items, item response options and query responses. Enumerators indicated whether explanations were required for each item and reported their experiences using a self-report measure for children.
Results: Average length of time to complete scale instruction and 56-item administration, was 25 minutes in Rwanda and 45 minutes in Kenya. (Time in Kenya was longer because the tool was administered twice, with and without pictorial representations.) 87.5 percent of enumerators in Kenya reported overall experience with the tool for this age group as either "great" or "good" compared to 89.1 percent of enumerators in Rwanda. 80.1 percent of enumerators reported that their experience with the pictorial representations was "great" or "good" in Rwanda, compared to 88.2 percent in Kenya. All items were reported as easily understood by at least 70 percent of surveyed children. The majority of items (approximately 80 percent) required no additional explanations beyond the initial instructions.
Conclusions: Younger children in the 7–12 year age range in Kenya and Rwanda OVC programs can respond to standardized scales of wellbeing; pictorial representation of responses may assist responses. Triangulation of child reports with feedback from caregivers, teachers and other relevant caretakers is important for validation.
Authors: Shannon Senefeld, Dave Roth, Daphyne Williams, Pontien Maniraguha, Carrie Miller
Presenter: Carrie Miller
Conference: 2012 Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Africa Conference
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Date of presentation: November 1, 2012
PowerPoint: 12 slides (PDF)
Posted on November 7, 2012