Research on the consequences of child maltreatment has primarily focused on behavior and mental health; the children’s overall well-being has not received the same attention. A number of studies have investigated health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among victims of child maltreatment, but there is still a lack of knowledge about predictors of HRQoL in maltreated children and adolescents. This study seeks to bridge the gap by drawing data from the German multi-site study Child Abuse and Neglect Case-Management (CANMANAGE).
Parents or caregivers of 350 children and adolescents completed a proxy version of the Kidscreen-10-Index, a multidimensional instrument measuring child HRQoL. An additional 249 children age 8 years and older completed a self-report version. Multiple regression analyses were performed to identify potential predictors for both self- and proxy-rated HRQoL.
Comparisons with the reference group revealed a significantly lower mean proxy-rated HRQoL, the self-rated HRQoL of the study sample was not significantly impaired. Predictors of impaired self-reported HRQoL were older age, self-reported posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), and self-reported emotional and behavioral symptoms. Predictors of impaired proxy-reported HRQoL again were older age, self-reported PTSS, and emotional and behavioral symptoms in the child/adolescent, as reported by the caregiver, as well as low socioeconomic status. Multivariate analysis explained 20% and 38% of the variability in self-reported and proxy-rated HRQoL, respectively.
It is important to treat PTSS and emotional and behavioral symptoms in maltreated children, as these two phenomena are strong cross-sectional predictors of a child’s HRQoL. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapies are one possible option to address the needs of such children.