Quality of Life Research

, 18:1147 | Cite as

Age and gender differences in health-related quality of life of children and adolescents in Europe: a multilevel analysis

  • Gisela Michel
  • Corinna Bisegger
  • Daniela C. Fuhr
  • Thomas Abel
  • The KIDSCREEN group
Article

Abstract

Objectives

To determine age and gender differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children and adolescents across 12 European countries using a newly developed HRQOL measure (KIDSCREEN).

Methods

The KIDSCREEN-52 questionnaire was filled in by 21,590 children and adolescents aged 8–18 from 12 countries. We used multilevel regression analyses to model the hierarchical structure of the data. In addition, effect sizes were computed to test for gender differences within each age group.

Results

Children generally showed better HRQOL than adolescents (P < 0.001). While boys and girls had similar HRQOL at young age, girls’ HRQOL declined more than boys’ (P < 0.001) with increasing age, depending on the HRQOL scale. There was significant variation between countries both at the youngest age and for age trajectories.

Conclusions

For the first time, gender and age differences in children’s and adolescents’ HRQOL across Europe were assessed using a comprehensive and standardised instrument. Gender and age differences exist for most HRQOL scales. Differences in HRQOL across Europe point to the importance of national contexts for youth’s well-being.

Keywords

Quality of life Child Adolescent Sex characteristics Europe 

Abbreviations

AT

Austria

CH

Switzerland

CZ

Czech Republic

DE

Germany

EL

Greece

ES

Spain

FR

France

HU

Hungary

HRQOL

Health-related quality of life

NL

The Netherlands

PL

Poland

SE

Sweden

UK

United Kingdom

UNICEF

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

WHO

World Health Organisation

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gisela Michel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Corinna Bisegger
    • 1
  • Daniela C. Fuhr
    • 1
  • Thomas Abel
    • 1
  • The KIDSCREEN group
  1. 1.Department of Social and Behavioural Health Research, Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SheffieldWestern Bank, SheffieldUK

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