Children of parents with mental health problems (CPM) have an increased risk for impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This study aims at investigating the age- and gender-specific course of HRQoL and at exploring predictors of HRQoL in CPM based on longitudinal data (baseline, 1-year and 2-year follow-up) of a German population-based sample.
Longitudinal data from the German BELLA study was analyzed (n = 1429; aged 11 to 17 years at baseline). The SCL-S-9 in combination with the cutoff for the General Severity Index (GSI) from the longer SCL-90-R served to identify CPM (n = 312). At first, we compared domain-specific HRQoL according to the KIDSCREEN-27 in CPM versus Non-CPM. Focusing on CPM, we used individual growth modeling to investigate the age and gender-specific course, and to explore effects of risk and (personal, familial and social) resource factors on self-reported HRQoL in CPM.
Self-reported HRQoL was reduced in CPM compared to Non-CPM in all domains, but in social support & peers. However, a minimal important difference was only reached in girls for the domain autonomy & parent relation. Internalizing and externalizing mental health problems were associated with impaired HRQoL in CPM. Self-efficacy, social support and family climate were identified as significant resources, but parental mental health problems over time were not associated with any investigated domain of HRQoL in CPM.
Adolescent female CPM may be especially at risk for reduced HRQoL. When developing support programs for CPM, self-efficacy, social support and family climate should be considered, HRQoL and mental health problems in CPM should be addressed.