A unique patient population? Health-related quality of life in adolescent athletes versus general, healthy adolescent individuals

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Normative scores for patient-rated outcome (PRO) instruments are important for providing patient-centered, whole-person care and making informed clinical decisions. Although normative values for the Pediatric Quality of Life Generic Core Scale (PedsQL) have been established in the general, healthy adolescent population, whether adolescent athletes demonstrate similar values is unclear. Objective: To compare PedsQL scores between adolescent athletes and general, healthy adolescent individuals. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Secondary schools. Patients or Other Participants: A convenience sample of 2659 interscholastic athletes (males=2059, females=600, age = 15.7 ± 1.1 years) represented the athlete group (ATH), and a previously published normative dataset represented the general, healthy adolescent group (GEN). Intervention(s): All participants completed the PedsQL during 1 testing session. Main Outcome Measure(s): The PedsQL consists of 2 summary scores (total, psychosocial) and 4 subscale scores (physical, emotional, social, school), with higher scores indicating better health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Groups were stratified by age (14,15, or 16 years old). Independent-samples t tests were conducted to compare between-groups and sex differences. Results: The ATH group scored higher than the GEN group across all ages for total and psychosocial summary scores and for emotional and social functioning subscale scores (P ≤ .005). For physical functioning, scores of the 15-year-old ATH were higher than for their GEN counterparts (P= .001). Both 14- and 15-year-old ATH scored higher than their GEN counterparts for the school functioning subscale (P ≤ .013), but differences between 16-year olds were not significant (P = .228). Male adolescent athletes reported higher scores than female adolescent athletes across all scores (P ≤ .001) except for social functioning (P= .229). Conclusions: Adolescent athletes reported better HRQOL than GEN, particularly in emotional functioning. These findings further support the notion that ATH constitutes a unique population that requires its own set of normative values for self-reported, patient-rated outcome instruments. © by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.

First Page


Last Page




Publication Date


This document is currently not available here.