Do Clinical And Psychosocial Factors Affect Health-Related Quality of Life in Adolescents with Chronic Diseases?

  •  Teresa Santos    
  •  Margarida Matos    
  •  Adilson Marques    
  •  Celeste Simões    
  •  Isabel Leal    
  •  Maria Machado    


Living with a chronic disease in adolescence can have an impact on the perception of Health-related Quality of Life (HRQoL). Facing the increasing relevance of psychosocial dimensions and also considering the interaction with clinical variables, this study aimed to measure the impact of clinical and psychosocial factors (separated and combined) on adolescent’s reported HRQoL.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in a clinical population of 135 adolescents with chronic diseases (n=70 boys), average age: 14±1.5 years old. Through a self-reported questionnaire, HRQoL (KIDSCREEN-10), socio-demographic, clinical variables (diagnostic; time of diagnosis; self-perceived pain; disease severity proxy; disease-related medication intake/use of special equipment), and psychosocial variables (psychosomatic health; resilience; self-regulation; social support) were assessed.

Separately, clinical and psychosocial variables showed a significant impact in HRQoL, 27.9% and 62.4%, respectively. Once combined, the previously identified variables had a significant impact (64.2%), but a different contribution from clinical and psychosocial variables was revealed: when first entering the clinical variables (model 1) the variance only reaches 30%, and much more from psychosocial variables seems to explain the total (64.2%); inversely, when first integrating psychosocial variables (model 2), the clinical ones added a small significance to the model (0.6%).

The present study underlined the association of clinical (“disease-related”) and psychosocial (“non-disease-related”) factors on HRQoL. Furthermore, it reinforced the need to focus more on psychosocial dimensions, highlighted the potential role of psychosomatic health, resilience, self-regulation and social support. It can be suggested that the identification of impaired psychosocial domains may help professionals to better plan, and achieve effective interventions of psychosocial care.

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