Determinants of life quality in school-age children with cerebral palsy

J Pediatr. 2007 Nov;151(5):470-5, 475.e1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.04.014. Epub 2007 Aug 24.


Objective: To characterize the quality of life of children with cerebral palsy from the parents' and children's perspectives.

Study design: Ninety-five children were recruited; a parent, and when feasible, the child also completed the Child Health Questionnaire and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. A range of predictor variables was measured relating to impairments, activity limitations, personal and environmental factors.

Results: Mean age was 9.3 +/- 2.1 years; 63.2% were male, and almost half had mild motor impairment (47% Gross Motor Function Classification System level I). Mean physical well-being (Child Health Questionnaire) was 39.6 +/- 16.9 with 50% <40; and mean psychosocial well-being was 43.0 +/- 11.3 with 53.8% <40. Similarly, with the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, 61% had summary scores <1 SD. Scores of parents and their children were significantly correlated (physical: r = .59, P < .0001; psychosocial: r = .39, P = .01); however, children rated themselves higher.

Conclusions: Results indicate that quality of life is highly variable in children with cerebral palsy, with about half experiencing a life quality similar to typically developing children. Motor and other activity limitations are indicators of physical but not psychosocial well-being. Family functioning, behavioral difficulties, and motivation are important predictors of social-emotional adaptation. Determinants of life quality may guide resource allocation and health promotion initiatives to optimize health of the child and family.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parents
  • Quality of Life*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires