Functionality and Quality of Life Among Youth With Disabilities: An Examination of Multivariate Differences

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Background: Defining quality of life (QOL) for individuals with disabilities is difficult, in part, because the construct of QOL is evolving and often misconceptualized by a focus on traditional outcome measurements (e.g., Short Form-36). In populations without disabilities, QOL is often narrowly defined in terms of function. The purpose of the study was to examine the complex relationships among functionality and QOL among youth with disabilities.

Methods: An exploratory survey design using the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI), and Child Health and Illness Profile (CHIPs) was used to examine function and quality of life. The National Center for Health Statistics Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties was used to recruit, parents (N = 66) in one urban and one rural school district in Georgia. Means for subscales on the PODCI and CHIPs were calculated and relationships among functional and QOL variables were examined via multivariate analyses.

Results: Regression models indicated complex relationships among the variables, with functional variables significantly predicting some but not all indicators of QOL. Stepwise regression indicated Sports and Physical Functioning Scale, Happiness Scale, and Transfer & Basic Mobility Scale significantly predicted satisfaction (F = 12.918 [p2 = 3.92). A backward method indicated Happiness, Pain/Comfort significantly predicted Risk Avoidance (F = 10.232, p <0.001).

Conclusion: In order to promote health and well-bring among individuals with disabilities, practitioners and researchers must understand the complex relationships among disability, function, and quality of life, the definitions of which are multifaceted and change depending on the individual and context.


American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA)


New Orleans, LA