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Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2012 Sep 17;10(1):33. doi: 10.1186/1546-0096-10-33.

Health-related quality of life in girls and boys with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: self- and parental reports in a cross-sectional study.

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1
Department of Clinical Sciences, Pediatrics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. veronica.lundberg@vll.se.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) affects children and adolescents with both short-term and long-term disability. These children also report lower health-related quality of life (HRQOL) compared to their healthy peers. However, there seems to be some discrepancies between self- and parent-reports, and gender differences need to be further studied. This study aims to describe HRQOL in girls and boys with JIA, and to explore gender differences in self-reports compared to parent-reports of HRQOL in children with JIA.

METHODS:

Fifty-three children and adolescents with JIA (70% girls and 30% boys) with a median age of 14 years (8-18 years), and their parents, participated in this cross-sectional study in Sweden. Data was systematically collected prior to ordinary visits at a Pediatric outpatient clinic, during a period of 16 months (2009-2010). Disability was assessed with the Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire (CHAQ), and disease activity by physicians' assessments and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR). The Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 Generic Core Scales (PedsQL) was used to assess self- and parent-reports of HRQOL in the child.

RESULTS:

In this sample of children with generally low disease activity and mild to moderate disability, more than half of the children experienced suboptimal HRQOL, equally in girls and boys. Significant differences between self- and parent-reports of child HRQOL were most evident among girls, with lower parent-reports regarding the girl's physical- and psychosocial health as well as in the total HRQOL score. Except for the social functioning subscale, where parents' reports were higher compared to their sons, there were no significant differences between boys- and parent-reports.

CONCLUSIONS:

More than half of the girls and boys experienced suboptimal HRQOL in this sample, with no gender differences. However, there were differences between self- and parent-reports of child HRQOL, with most significant differences found among the girls. Thus, differences between self- and parent-reports of child HRQOL must be taken into account in clinical settings, especially among girls with JIA.

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