Do physical disabilities affect self-perceived quality of life in adolescents?

Research paper by Jau-Hong JH Lin, Yun-Huei YH Ju, Shwn-Jen SJ Lee, Chien-Hung CH Lee, Hui-Yi HY Wang, Ya-Ling YL Teng, Sing Kai SK Lo

Indexed on: 09 Jul '08Published on: 09 Jul '08Published in: Disability and rehabilitation


We examined to what extent physical disabilities (PD) affect self-perceived quality of life (QOL) among adolescents.A survey was conducted on 157 adolescents (aged 15.6 +/- 1.6 years) with PD, who were attending high schools in Taiwan; 855 students (15.3 +/- 1.6 years) from the same geographic regions and without a disability were recruited as controls. The Student Version of the Comprehensive Quality of Life Scale (COMQOL-S) was used to assess their subjective and objective well-being.No significant differences in overall objective QOL score were found between the two groups but the PD group was poorer in health and material well-being. Adolescents with PD scored significantly higher in overall subjective QOL and all the seven domains examined. Stratified analysis showed that older students and female students with PD had lower life satisfaction in some domains. There were no significant differences in overall objective (62.1 +/- 8.3 vs. 60.9 +/- 6.4; p = 0.55) or subjective (72.3 +/- 12.6 vs. 74.4 +/- 13.6; p = 0.15) QOL between students in mainstream and special schools.With national health care and educational coverage, the QOL of adolescents with PD in Taiwan do not seem to be affected by the disabilities, regardless of whether they are in mainstream or special schools. However, the negative effect of PD on QOL becomes a concern with increasing age; females with PD also appear to have a lower subjective QOL in health and emotion.