Acta Psychopathologica Open Access

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Psychometric Properties of the Dizziness Handicap Inventory Child/Adolescent (DHI-CA)

Maria da Glória Canto de Sousa, Cristina Freitas Ganança, Laíse dos Santos Lobo, Melka de Almeida Souza and Eduardo Pondé de Sena

Imbalance and vertigo are the symptoms that most negatively affect the well-being of patients of both genders and different age-ranges (1). Vestibulopathy is a disorder that causes a series of signs and symptoms, and may affect children and adolescents(2), interfering in their psychological behavior and performance at school(3). The episodes of vertigo reported by the children must almost always indicate the presence of vestibular dysfunction. Vertigo in children is manifested in various forms and their complaints are similar to those of adults. Therefore, as in adults, children may also present progressive or chronic loss of vestibular function that affects the development of postural control (2). However, there is difficulty in diagnosing vestibular dysfunction in childhood, due to the variety of symptoms presented, and by the difficulty with reporting them (4). Researchers (2) have made reference to Epidemiological studies with school-age children, which have shown that around 15% had experienced at least one episode of dizziness during the period of one year. These same authors pointed out innumerable studies about the most common disturbances that cause vertigo and imbalance in children. These publications have shown the extent to which the suffering of children that have vertigo and imbalance has been neglected, when compared with the publications about dizziness in adults, revealing a certain failure to observe the suffering dizziness causes in the child population. The incapacity caused by dizziness, whether from the emotional, functional, or physical aspects, is most important in the social and personal context of individuals, irrespective of its etiology, since it considerably affects their quality of life(5). Concerned about quantifying the interference of dizziness in the day-to-day life of children, researchers elaborated the Dizziness Handicap Inventory Child/Adolescent (DHI-CA)(6), from the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI). The DHI is an inventory designed to measure the incapacitating effected imposed by dizziness on the quality of life of adult subjects. The purpose of using it is not only to diagnose, but also to evaluate the effects of treatment (7). At present, there are few studies that make reference to the DHI as a tool for evaluating the impact of dizziness in pediatric patients, namely: the DHI-PC, which evaluates children’s dizziness from the perspective of care-givers (8) and the DHI-CA (6), which measures the impact of dizziness on the quality of life of children and adolescents, for the purpose of quantifying the effects imposed on daily life functions. These tools may be incorporated in the evaluation of children who suffer from vertigo. Vestibulopathy in childhood is capable of compromising children’s performance in the school environment, affecting their ability to communicate and their psychological state.