Health-related quality of life among adolescents in residential care: Description and correlates

Timothy D. Nelson, Katherine M. Kidwell, Steven Hoffman, Alexandra L. Trout, Michael H. Epstein, Ronald W. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to describe the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of adolescents in residential care and to examine selected correlates. A sample of 229 adolescents (mean age = 17 years) living in a residential care setting completed a validated measure of HRQoL (PedsQL 4.0 Generic Scales). Mean-level scores for Total HRQoL, Physical HRQoL, and Psychosocial HRQoL were examined, and the percentage of youth scoring below a clinical cutoff value was reported. Demographic and psychotropic medication data for each youth were accessed from an electronic database maintained by the residential care program and used to examine correlates of HRQoL. Approximately 25% of youth had at least 1 HRQoL score in the "at risk" range, indicating a significant proportion of youth in residential care have significant impairments in HRQoL. Younger age and female gender were associated with poorer HRQoL. Psychotropic medication prescriptions were associated with poorer HRQoL. A significant percentage of adolescents in residential care may experience suboptimal HRQoL, and certain demographic and clinical factors appear to be associated with greater risk. Systematic assessment of HRQoL is recommended for youth in residential care, and interventions to promote better HRQoL among youth at particularly high risk may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Psychotropic medications
  • Residential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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