Multiple studies have found that poorer health is associated with significantly lower quality of life when comparing children and adults with health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, asthma, and ADHD to their normal healthy counterparts. The relationship between health and quality of life, however, has yet to be examined in children who have undergone elective surgery. More than 5 million children in the U.S. undergo surgery each year. These children are often undergoing surgery for a number of health issues that may impede quality of life. Consequently, this study analyzes the effects of health on the quality of life of pediatric patients ages 2-12 who have undergone elective surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (N = 86). Surveys were distributed to parents, who were asked to rate both their child’s overall health and child’s quality of life preoperatively and again seven days after surgery. Health was found to be significantly correlated with the child’s quality of life both before (r(86) = .348, p = .001) and after (r(51) = .472, p < .001) surgery. Specifically, children who were healthier (both before and after surgery) had higher levels of quality of life. Further, this association between health and quality of life was significant for all the quality of life dimensions (physical, emotional, social, and school functioning, ps < .05) both before and after surgery. This suggests that poor health can harm all dimensions of quality of life. More specifically, it can affect a child’s energy level (physical), tendency to worry (emotional), ability to keep up when playing with other children (social), and ability to pay attention in class (school). Moreover, clinicians may want to consider following up on pediatric patients’ quality of life in the recovery process, as their follow-up quality of life could be linked to their health status following surgery. Future studies could observe the association between health and quality of life in teenagers, an age group characterized by higher depression rates and lower self-esteem.
Luong, Vivian, "Health and Quality of Life of Children Undergoing Elective Surgery" (2019). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 316.