OBJECTIVE. The goal was to determine whether the type and severity of the child's impairments and the family's psychosocial, social, and economic characteristics influence parent-reported child quality of life across the spectrum of severity of cerebral palsy.
METHODS. Our population-based, cross-sectional survey conducted in 2004 to 2005 involved 818 children with cerebral palsy, 8 to 12 years of age, from 7 countries (9 regions) in Europe. Child quality of life was assessed through parent reports by using the Kidscreen questionnaire, and data were analyzed separately for each of its 10 domains.
RESULTS. The parental response rates were >93% for all domains except one. Gross motor function and IQ level were found to be associated independently with quality of life in most domains. However, greater severity of impairment was not always associated with poorer quality of life; in the moods and emotions, self-perception, social acceptance, and school environment domains, less severely impaired children were more likely to have poor quality of life. Pain was associated with poor quality of life in the physical and psychological well-being and self-perception domains. Parents with higher levels of stress were more likely to report poor quality of life in all domains, which suggests that factors other than the severity of the child's impairment may influence the way in which parents report quality of life.
CONCLUSIONS. The parent-reported quality of life for children with cerebral palsy is associated strongly with impairment. However, depending on the areas of life, the most severely impaired children (in terms of motor functioning or intellectual ability) do not always have the poorest quality of life.