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Abstract

Objective

Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) experience functional impairment due to joint manifestations of the disease. The aim of our present study was to assess health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and its predictors in a group of children and adolescents with JIA.

Methods

The study sample includes all JIA patients (ages 6–18 years) who consulted a pediatric rheumatologist in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, between February 2009 and March 2010. HRQOL was measured using the Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 (ages 6–18 years). Functional ability was measured using the Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire, and medical and sociodemographic parameters were assessed. The study sample was compared to a Dutch youth norm population including children with other chronic health conditions. The proportion of children with JIA with an impaired HRQOL (<1 SD) was evaluated and multivariate regression analyses were performed to predict HRQOL outcome.

Results

Of the eligible patients, 64.1% (n = 152) participated. Both children (ages 6–12 years) and adolescents (ages 13–18 years) with JIA reported a significantly lower HRQOL in almost all domains compared to either healthy controls or children with other chronic health conditions. Approximately half of the children with JIA showed an impaired HRQOL. The main predictors of HRQOL were functional ability, pain, subjective burden of medication use, and school absence.

Conclusion

The HRQOL is severely affected in children and adolescents with JIA. These findings underline the necessity to systematically monitor HRQOL in daily clinical practice.