Health-Related Quality of Life Among Adolescents in Residential Care: Description and Correlates


health, quality of life, HRQoL, adolescence, residential care


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 Publication Citation

Nelson., T. D., *Kidwell., K. M., Hoffman., S. Trout., A. L., Epstein, M. H., & Thompson, R. W. (2014). Healthrelated quality of life among adolescents in residential care: Description and correlates. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 84, 226-233.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


American Journal of Orthopsychiatry




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor