Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) may be helpful in identifying children at risk of developing adjustment problems. Few studies have focused on HRQoL among children of ill or substance abusing parents despite their considerable risk status. In the present study, we used the KIDSCREEN-27 to assess self-reported HRQoL in children and adolescents living in families with parental illness, or substance dependence. First, we tested whether the factor structure of the KIDSCREEN-27 was replicated in this population of children. Next, we examined differences in HRQoL according to age, gender, and type of parental illness. Finally, we compared levels of HRQoL in our sample to a normative reference population.
Two hundred and forty-six children and adolescents aged 8–17 years and their ill parents participated. The construct validity of the KIDSCREEN-27 questionnaire was examined by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). T-tests and ANOVA were used to test differences in HRQoL levels according to age, gender, and parental patient groups, and for comparisons with reference population.
The KIDSCREEN-27 fit the theoretical five-factor model of HRQoL reasonably well. Boys and younger children reported significantly greater well-being on physical well-being, psychological well-being, and peers and social support, compared to girls and older children. Younger children also reported significantly greater well-being at school than did older children. There were no significant differences in HRQoL between groups of children living with different type of parental illness. The children in our sample reported their physical well-being significantly lower than the reference population.
The KIDSCREEN-27 questionnaire appears to work satisfactorily among children of ill or substance abusing parents.