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01-08-2017 | Uitgave 12/2017 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 12/2017

Trajectories in quality of life of patients with a fracture of the distal radius or ankle using latent class analysis

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 12/2017
M. A. C. Van Son, J. De Vries, W. Zijlstra, J. A. Roukema, T. Gosens, M. H. J. Verhofstad, B. L. Den Oudsten



This prospective study aimed to identify the different trajectories of quality of life (QOL) in patients with distal radius fractures (DRF) and ankle fractures (AF). Secondly, it was examined if subgroups could be characterized by sociodemographic, clinical, and psychological variables.


Patients (n = 543) completed the World Health Organization Quality of Life assessment instrument-Bref (WHOQOL-Bref), the pain, coping, and cognitions questionnaire, NEO-five factor inventory (neuroticism and extraversion), and the state-trait anxiety inventory (short version) a few days after fracture (i.e., pre-injury QOL reported). The WHOQOL-Bref was also completed at three, six, and 12 months post-fracture. Latent class trajectory analysis (i.e., regression model) including the Step 3 method was performed in Latent Gold 5.0.


The number of classes ranged from three to five for the WHOQOL-Bref facet and the four domains with a total variance explained ranging from 71.6 to 79.4%. Sex was only significant for physical and psychological QOL (p < 0.05), whereas age showed significance for overall, physical, psychological, and environmental QOL (p < 0.05). Type of treatment or fracture type was not significant (p > 0.05). Percentages of chronic comorbidities were 1.8 (i.e., social QOL) to 4.5 (i.e., physical QOL) higher in the lowest compared to the highest QOL classes. Trait anxiety, neuroticism, extraversion, pain catastrophizing, and internal pain locus of control were significantly different between QOL trajectories (p < 0.05).


The importance of a biopsychosocial model in trauma care was confirmed. The different courses of QOL after fracture were defined by several sociodemographic and clinical variables as well as psychological characteristics. Based on the identified characteristics, patients at risk for lower QOL may be recognized earlier by health care providers offering opportunities for monitoring and intervention.

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