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Predictors of health-related quality of life following injury in childhood and adolescence: a pooled analysis


Background Injury is a leading contributor to the global disease burden in children and places children at risk for adverse and lasting impacts on their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and development. This study aimed to identify key predictors of HRQoL following injury in childhood and adolescence.

Methods Data from 2259 injury survivors (<18 years when injured) were pooled from four longitudinal cohort studies (Australia, Canada, UK, USA) from the paediatric Validating Injury Burden Estimates Study (VIBES-Junior). Outcomes were the Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) total, physical, psychosocial functioning scores at 1, 3–4, 6, 12, 24 months postinjury.

Results Mean PedsQL total score increased with higher socioeconomic status and decreased with increasing age. It was lower for transport-related incidents, ≥1 comorbidities, intentional injuries, spinal cord injury, vertebral column fracture, moderate/severe traumatic brain injury and fracture of patella/tibia/fibula/ankle. Mean PedsQL physical score was lower for females, fracture of femur, fracture of pelvis and burns. Mean PedsQL psychosocial score was lower for asphyxiation/non-fatal submersion and muscle/tendon/dislocation injuries.

Conclusions Postinjury HRQoL was associated with survivors’ socioeconomic status, intent, mechanism of injury and comorbidity status. Patterns of physical and psychosocial functioning postinjury differed according to sex and nature of injury sustained. The findings improve understanding of the long-term individual and societal impacts of injury in the early part of life and guide the prioritisation of prevention efforts, inform health and social service planning to help reduce injury burden, and help guide future Global Burden of Disease estimates.

  • disability
  • public health
  • longitudinal

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. The data included in this project are not freely available. Requests for access to data from the participating datasets would need to be directed to the relevant data custodian.

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