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Keywords:

  • adherence;
  • quality of life;
  • liver transplantation

Abstract:  Adolescence is a particularly high-risk period for non-adherence with post-transplant medical regimens. There remains a lack of research investigating factors related to non-adherence in adolescent LT recipients. The present study empirically assessed the relationship between adherence and HRQOL in adolescent LT recipients. Participants included 25 adolescents (mean = 15.1 yr, range 12–17.9) and their parent/guardian(s). Adherence was assessed using multiple indices including clinician-conducted interviews, rate of clinic attendance, and s.d. of consecutive tacrolimus blood levels. HRQOL was examined using self-report and parent-proxy report on well-validated assessment measures. Results indicated that 76% of participants were non-adherent on at least one measure of adherence, and HRQOL was significantly lower than normative data for healthy children. Tacrolimus s.d. were significant related to poor HRQOL across domains of physical, school, and social functioning. Non-adherent adolescents reported poorer health perceptions, self-esteem, mental health, family cohesion, and more limitations in social and school activities related to physical, emotional, and behavioral problems. These results suggest that empirically based assessment of HRQOL may help identify those at highest risk for behavior, emotional and school difficulties, as well as non-adherence. The examination of tacrolimus s.d. may also help identify patients who may benefit from intervention to promote adherence and HRQOL. Prospective investigations are necessary to further identify the impact of HRQOL on adherence and long-term health outcomes to further guide clinical intervention.