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Health-related quality of life among children with mental disorders: a systematic review

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Abstract

Purpose

To systematically review studies about the quality of life (QOL) of children with various mental disorders relative to healthy controls and to describe limitations in these studies.

Methods

Relevant articles were searched using different databases, by checking reference lists and contacting experts. We included articles that either compared children with mental disorders to healthy controls/norm values or made such a comparison possible.

Results

Sixteen out of 4,560 articles met the pre-defined inclusion criteria. These studies revealed that the QOL of children with various mental disorders is compromised across multiple domains. The largest effect sizes were found for psychosocial and family-related domains and for the total QOL score, whereas physical domains generally were less affected. The most important limitations in the existing literature include the lack of study samples drawn from the general population, the failure to use self-ratings, not considering item overlap between measuring QOL and assessing for the presence of a particular mental disorder, and not determining whether the children were receiving medication for their mental disorder.

Conclusions

Children with mental disorders experience a considerable reduction in QOL across various domains. Research studies that avoid previous limitations are crucial to fill existing knowledge gaps.

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Abbreviations

ADHD:

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

ASD:

Autism spectrum disorders

CHIP:

Child Health and Illness Profile

CI:

Confidence interval

CHQ:

Child Health Questionnaire

DSM-IV-TR:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

DUX-25:

Dutch-Child-AZL-TNO-Quality-of-Life

ES:

Effect sizes

HRQOL:

Health-related quality of life

ICD-10:

International Classification of Disease and Related Health Problems

KINDL-R:

Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescent—Revised Version

PedsQL:

Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory

SD:

Standard deviation

SpLD:

Specific learning disabilities

TACQOL:

TNO-AZL-Child-Quality-of-Life

QOL:

Quality of life

WHO:

World Health Organization

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to all authors who provided additional data we needed to complete the evaluation of papers and the data extraction. Furthermore, we would like to thank Didier Kramer for providing practical hints on conducting a systematic review, Alois Tschopp for his statistical consulting and Rahel Schümperli for her assistance in obtaining relevant articles. This work is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (325130_125486) and the Swiss School of Public Health plus.

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Correspondence to Michelle Dey.

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Dey, M., Landolt, M.A. & Mohler-Kuo, M. Health-related quality of life among children with mental disorders: a systematic review. Qual Life Res 21, 1797–1814 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-012-0109-7

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