Quality of life among adolescents with cerebral palsy: what does the literature tell us?


* Correspondence to the second author at CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, Institute for Applied Health Sciences, Room 408, 1400 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 1C7, Canada. E-mail: rosenbau@mcmaster.ca


This review describes trends in quality of life (QOL) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). Twenty original articles were identified by a structured search of multiple databases and grouped by design. Categories included descriptive cross-sectional studies (n=8), measurement validation studies (n=9), and exploratory qualitative studies (n=3). Several trends were apparent. First, individuals with CP are reported to have decreased QOL and HRQOL compared with a normative population in some but not all areas of well-being. Second, functional status measures such as the Gross Motor Function Classification System are reliable indicators of variations in physical function, but do not correlate consistently with psychosocial well-being. Third, although adolescents with CP have different life issues than adults or children, limited research on factors associated with QOL and HRQOL has been described for this age range. We recommend that clinicians and researchers interested in assessing well-being among adolescents with CP include participants from across the spectrum of motor impairment, allow adolescents to self-report whenever possible, and assess adolescents independently, rather than including them with individuals from other age groups or clinical populations.