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.