Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety
Background: Despite recognition that youth with psychological disorders report significantly lower quality of life (QOL) compared to healthy peers (Henry, Castellini, Moses, & Scott, 2016) the construct has largely been absent from the pediatric anxiety literature. Recent research suggests that cognitive-behavioral treatment may benefit QOL in youth with clinical anxiety (Weidle, Ivarsson, Thomsen, Lydersen, & Jozefiak, 2015); therefore, a logical next step is the identification of child and family factors associated with QOL in clinically anxious youth as a method of pinpointing possible targets of treatment. The present study examined baseline characteristics associated with youths’ quality of life in a treatment-seeking sample.
Methods: Participants were 179 youth and their parents seeking treatment at an anxiety specialty clinic. Youth reported on their QOL, anxiety symptoms, avoidance, and negative affect. Parents completed measures assessing their child’s emotion regulation and their accommodation of their child’s avoidance.
Results: Bivariate correlations indicated that negative affect and anxiety symptoms were negatively associated with QOL, whereas emotion regulation was positively associated with QOL. Regression analyses controlling for age and gender indicated that when all three constructs were entered into the model, only negative affect and emotion regulation remained independently associated with QOL.
Conclusions: The present study extends the existing research by examining child and family correlates of QOL. Findings indicate that both emotion regulation and negative affect contribute to QOL above and beyond anxiety symptoms, and therefore are important targets of intervention. Providers might consider incorporating emotion regulation strategies into treatment, and specifically addressing negative affect. Future work should examine predictors of QOL longitudinally.
Clinical Child Psychology Program University of Kansas