Quality of Life Research

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 1069–1085 | Cite as

Assessment of quality of life in children and youth with autism spectrum disorder: a critical review

  • Erika Ikeda
  • Erica Hinckson
  • Chris Krägeloh



To review the use of quality of life (QOL) measures utilised in children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


Relevant articles were identified through database searches using MEDLINE, CINAHL Plus with Full Text and SPORTDiscus with Full Text via EBSCO Health Database, PsycINFO and ProQuest Health and Medicine (from 2000 to May 2013). Original research articles were included that measured QOL in children and youth with ASD aged 5–20 years. Searches were limited to articles from peer-reviewed journals, in English or German, and those available in full text.


The search identified 1,165 titles and 13 met the inclusion criteria. The review identified a number of QOL measures used in children and youth with ASD, with the most common one being the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory™ (PedsQL). QOL measures using self-reports were uncommon, and the reliability and validity of QOL measures were not sufficiently reported for this population. Large discrepancies in QOL scores were found between self-reports and proxy-reports. Despite the differences in study design and methodological quality, there was consistency in the results among studies; children and youth with ASD provided lower QOL scores, particularly for social domains, compared to their healthy counterparts.


The PedsQL is likely to be an appropriate QOL measure for use in children and youth with ASD. Future research should focus on examining the appropriateness, reliability and validity of QOL self-reports for use in this population.


Adolescents Autism Health-related quality of life Paediatric Self-report Social Functioning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Environmental SciencesAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

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