Table of Contents:
Quality of life (QL) of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders has recently become of interest in psychiatric research.
The “Inventar zur Erfassung der Lebensqualität bei Kindern und Jugendlichen” (ILK, Mattejat et al., 1998) is the first German questionnaire that has been specificly designed for assessing QL of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders.
The dissertation was written as part of a study for collecting standard data from the German population.
Object: The aim of this dissertation was to find out whether differences in QL exist between the normal population of children and adolescents and the clinical population consisting of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders.
The hypothesis of this study is that the normal population rates the QL higher than children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders and that this difference is independent from treatment (in-patient or out-patient).
Method: Subjects for the normal population were found via telephone recruiting by using randomly created phone numbers. Following a telephone interview the ILK questionnaire was then sent to volunteers of this sample. It was filled out by one parent and the child the telephone interview was related to. The analysed sample consists of 305 children and adolescents from the age of 6 to 18 years. The collected data concerning QL were compared to the data from a clinical multicentered study. The matched-pair-method was used by forming pairs matched in aged, gender and type of school. Differences between samples were transformed in effect size and examined by Wilcoxon-test.
Results: Children and adolescents from the normal population rated their QL higher than those with psychiatric disorders. Significant differences were found in every examined area of life. The biggest differences were found in the general QL assessment score and the sum of scores which was formed by adding up the items concerning different areas of life. Those differences were found independent of treatment. The effect size was bigger within the subsample of people with in-patient treatment.
Conclusions: The results confirm the hypothesis that children and adolescents from the normal population rate their QL higher than those with psychiatric disorders. This was found independent from treatment condition. These results demonstrate the importance of considering QL for therapy planning. Problematic areas can thus be discovered and specific interventions and help can be given to patients with psychiatric disorders.