Objective: To study the relationship between child psychiatric disorders and quality of life (QoL).
Method: In a sample of 310 children (ages 6-18 years) referred for psychiatric problems, children, parents, and clinicians reported on psychopathology and subjective and objective QoL indicators.
Results: Six diagnostic categories were distinguished: attention-deficit and disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, mood disorders, other disorders, and no diagnosis. In overall QoL, no differences were found between the diagnostic categories, except in clinician's ratings, who rated children with pervasive developmental disorder as having a poorer QoL than children with other diagnoses. In each diagnostic category specific QoL subdomains were affected: for children with attention-deficit and disruptive behavior disorder, school functioning and social functioning; for children with anxiety disorder, emotional functioning; for children with pervasive developmental disorder, social functioning; and for children with mood disorder, emotional functioning.
Conclusions: Across multiple raters, the distinguished child psychiatric disorders had a different impact on QoL. Knowledge about domains of QoL that are affected in specific child psychiatric disorders can help clinicians to focus on particular QoL domains during the diagnostic process and to define adequate treatment goals.