The reliability and validity of a child and adolescent participation in decision-making questionnaire

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Abstract

Background

There is a growing impetus across the research, policy and practice communities for children and young people to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Furthermore, there is a dearth of general instruments that measure children and young people's views on their participation in decision-making. This paper presents the reliability and validity of the Child and Adolescent Participation in Decision-Making Questionnaire (CAP-DMQ) and specifically looks at a population of looked-after children, where a lack of participation in decision-making is an acute issue.

Methods

The participants were 151 looked after children and adolescents between 10–23 years of age who completed the 10 item CAP-DMQ. Of the participants 113 were in receipt of an advocacy service that had an aim of increasing participation in decision-making with the remaining participants not having received this service.

Results

The results showed that the CAP-DMQ had good reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.94) and showed promising uni-dimensional construct validity through an exploratory factor analysis. The items in the CAP-DMQ also demonstrated good content validity by overlapping with prominent models of child and adolescent participation (Lundy 2007) and decision-making (Halpern 2014). A regression analysis showed that age and gender were not significant predictors of CAP-DMQ scores but receipt of advocacy was a significant predictor of scores (effect size d = 0.88), thus showing appropriate discriminant criterion validity.

Conclusion

Overall, the CAP-DMQ showed good reliability and validity. Therefore, the measure has excellent promise for theoretical investigation in the area of child and adolescent participation in decision-making and equally shows empirical promise for use as a measure in evaluating services, which have increasing the participation of children and adolescents in decision-making as an intended outcome.

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