Health-related quality of life in children and adolescents following traumatic injury: a review

Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2012 Sep;15(3):192-214. doi: 10.1007/s10567-012-0115-x.


This paper comprehensively reviews the published literature investigating health-related quality of life (HRQOL) following general traumatic injury in individuals between birth and 18 years. Studies were not considered if they primarily compared medical treatment options, evaluated physical function but not other aspects of HRQOL, or focused on non-traumatic wounds. Specific injury types (e.g., burn injury) were also not included. A total of 16 studies met criteria. Participants were age 1-18 years, with 12 studies considering children 5 years of age or older. Males were overrepresented. Injury severity averaged mostly in the moderate range. HRQOL deficits were noted in injured samples in all studies except the two with the longest time to follow-up (6-11 years). Some improvement was seen 6 months to 2 years after injury. Factors associated with HRQOL deficits were investigated, with acute and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms showing the strongest relationship. Research to date in this area is impressive, particularly the number of studies using prospective longitudinal investigations and validated measures. Challenges remain regarding methodologic differences, assessment of preinjury status, retention of participants, and management of missing data. Suggested future directions include extension of follow-up duration, utilization of pediatric self-report when possible, inclusion of younger children, and development of intervention programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*