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Objectives To test whether health-related quality of life (HRQL) based on societal standards differs between very low birth weight/very preterm (VLBW/VP) and full-term (FT) adolescents using self and parent proxy reports. Also, to examine whether self and parent reported HRQL is explained by indicators of objective functioning in childhood. Study design This prospective cohort study followed 260 VLBW/VP adolescents, 12 VLBW/VP adolescents with disability, and 282 FT adolescents. Objective functioning was assessed at 8.5 years; HRQL was assessed at 13 years with the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3). Results Adolescents reported more functional impairment than their parents especially in the psychological aspects of health. The mean difference in HUI3 multi-attribute utility scores between FT and VLBW/VP adolescents was small (parents: 0.91 [95% CI, 0.90, 0.92] vs 0.88 [95% CI, 0.86, 0.90]; adolescents: 0.87 [95% CI, 0.85, 0.89] vs 0.84 [95% CI, 0.82, 0.86]), but high for VLBW/VP adolescents with disabilities (0.18, 95% CI, -0.04, 0.40). Objective function did not predict HRQL in FT adolescents but contributed to prediction of HRQL in VLBW/VP adolescents without disabilities. Different indicators of objective functioning were important for adolescent vs parent reports. More variation in HUI3 scores was explained by objective function in VLBW/VP parent reports compared with adolescent reports (25% vs 18%). Conclusions VLBW/VP adolescents reported poorer HRQL than their FT peers in early adolescence. Improvement in HRQL as VLBW/VP children grow up is, at least partly, explained by exclusion of the most disabled in self reports by VLBW/VP adolescents and the use of different reference points by adolescents compared with parents.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Pediatrics

Publication Date





1020 - 1026


preschool-children born birth age prevalence disorders childhood gestation adulthood teenagers agreement