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A qualitative interview study to explore adolescents’ experience of alopecia areata and the content validity of sign/symptom patient‐reported outcome measures*

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The content validity (appropriateness and acceptability) of patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures for scalp hair loss, eyebrow loss, eyelash loss, nail damage and eye irritation has been demonstrated in adults with alopecia areata (AA) but not adolescents.


To explore the content validity of the suite of AA PRO measures and accompanying photoguides in an adolescent sample.


Semi-structured, 90-min, combined concept elicitation and cognitive interviews were conducted face-to-face with adolescents who experienced ≥ 50% AA-related scalp hair loss. Transcripts underwent thematic and framework analysis.


Eleven adolescents (aged 12-17 years, 55% female, 45% nonwhite) diagnosed with AA for 5·9 years (mean) participated. Participants had 69·6% scalp hair (mean) and current eyebrow (82%) and/or eyelash loss (82%) and/or nail involvement (36%). Adolescents reported scalp, eyebrow and eyelash hair loss as their top three most bothersome signs/symptoms. Despite mostly accepting their AA, impacts related to visible areas of hair loss were prominent. Participants demonstrated good understanding and appropriate use of the PRO measures, and advocated including hair loss percentages alongside descriptive categories in the Scalp Hair Assessment PRO™. Results confirmed treatment success thresholds established with adults: achievement of ≤ 20% scalp hair loss, no/minimal eyebrow and eyelash loss, no/a little nail damage and eye irritation (PRO measure categories 0 or 1).


The Scalp Hair Assessment PRO™, PRO Measure for Eyebrows™, PRO Measure for Eyelashes™, PRO Measure for Nail Appearance™ and PRO Measure for Eye Irritation™ and accompanying photoguides are fit-for-purpose self-reported measures of AA signs/symptoms that are impactful to adolescents with AA.

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