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Associations of quality of life with health-related characteristics among children with autism

TitleAssociations of quality of life with health-related characteristics among children with autism
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKuhlthau, KA, McDonnell, E, Coury, DL, Payakachat, N, Macklin, EA

Lead Author
Karen Kuhlthau

Study Aims and Objectives
While most studies about a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder’s (ASD) quality of life focus on the behavioral problems associated with the disorder, this study looks at the relationship between a child with ASD’s quality of life and both behavioral and physical health conditions such as sleep and digestive problems.

Methods - Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
The authors analyzed data from the Autism Treatment Network Registry on 4910 children (84% male, 16% female) aged 2 to 18. The study examined an individual’s degree of cognitive ability, behavioral problems, and physical health conditions. The researchers also examined whether quality of life was different for children with and without each of the health conditions.

Results – Main Finding(s)
Gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, acid reflux, and pain, were associated with a lower quality of life. Bipolar disorder and worse sleep quality were also related to a lower quality of life.

Conclusion – Summary Statement
The results of this study suggest that both behavioral problems and physical health conditions are associated with a lower quality of life for children with ASD. Therefore, clinicians should screen for these factors as they work with families and children on treatment plans.

PubMed ID28691502