Objective: To assess quality of life (QoL) and psychological adjustment in children and adolescents with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).
Study design: Forty-six patients with NF1 were investigated between the ages of 7 and 16 years (mean, 11.6 years), with children and parents used as informants. TNO-AZL Questionnaire for Children's Health-Related Quality of Life and Child Behavior Checklist scores were compared with healthy reference groups. Predictive values of sociodemographic variables, illness-related variables, and family-related variables for quality of life and psychological adjustment were assessed.
Results: Most dimensions of QoL in NF1 children and adolescents were different from reference values. Deviations in the NF1 group were an impairment of motor, cognitive, and social functioning and a reduction of positive and negative emotions. Also, psychological adjustment in patients with NF1 was significantly impaired compared with normal subjects. Illness-related variables had a negative impact on the emotional domain of QoL. Good family relationships positively affected both QoL and psychological adjustment.
Conclusions: QoL and psychological adjustment are impaired in children and adolescents with NF1. Illness-related variables and the quality of family relationships are important predictors.