Objectives: To test whether health-related quality of life (HRQL) based on societal standards differs between very low birth weight/very preterm (VLBW/VP) and full-term (FT) adolescents using self and parent proxy reports. Also, to examine whether self and parent reported HRQL is explained by indicators of objective functioning in childhood.
Study design: This prospective cohort study followed 260 VLBW/VP adolescents, 12 VLBW/VP adolescents with disability, and 282 FT adolescents. Objective functioning was assessed at 8.5 years; HRQL was assessed at 13 years with the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3).
Results: Adolescents reported more functional impairment than their parents especially in the psychological aspects of health. The mean difference in HUI3 multi-attribute utility scores between FT and VLBW/VP adolescents was small (parents: 0.91 [95% CI, 0.90, 0.92] vs 0.88 [95% CI, 0.86, 0.90]; adolescents: 0.87 [95% CI, 0.85, 0.89] vs 0.84 [95% CI, 0.82, 0.86]), but high for VLBW/VP adolescents with disabilities (0.18, 95% CI, -0.04, 0.40). Objective function did not predict HRQL in FT adolescents but contributed to prediction of HRQL in VLBW/VP adolescents without disabilities. Different indicators of objective functioning were important for adolescent vs parent reports. More variation in HUI3 scores was explained by objective function in VLBW/VP parent reports compared with adolescent reports (25% vs 18%).
Conclusions: VLBW/VP adolescents reported poorer HRQL than their FT peers in early adolescence. Improvement in HRQL as VLBW/VP children grow up is, at least partly, explained by exclusion of the most disabled in self reports by VLBW/VP adolescents and the use of different reference points by adolescents compared with parents.
Keywords: FT; Full-term; HRQL; HUI3; Health Utilities Index Mark 3; Health-related quality of life; MAU; Multi-attribute utility; SES; Socioeconomic status; VLBW; VP; Very low birth weight; Very preterm.
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