Health-Related Quality of Life Differs Between Adolescent Athletes and Adolescent Nonathletes

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Alison R. Snyder
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Jessica C. Martinez
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R. Curtis Bay
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John T. Parsons
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Eric L. Sauers
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Tamara C. Valovich McLeod
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Context:

Patient-oriented outcome measures such as the Medical Outcomes Short Form (SF-36) and the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument (PODCI) are important tools for determining the impact of events like sport-related injury on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Unfortunately, there are no published studies using these instruments that compare adolescent athletes with their nonathlete peers, making interpretations of these measures in this population difficult.

Objective:

To compare HRQoL in adolescent athletes and nonathletes using 2 common instruments.

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Setting:

7 high schools.

Participants:

219 athletes and 106 nonathletes.

Intervention:

None.

Main Outcome Measures:

The SF-36 and the PODCI were completed in a counterbalanced manner during 1 session. Dependent variables included the 8 subscale and 2 composite scores of the SF-36 and the 5 subscale scores and 1 global score of the PODCI.

Results:

On the SF-36, athletes reported higher scores on the physical function, general health, social functioning, and mental health subscales and the mental composite score and lower scores on the bodily pain subscale than nonathletes. On the PODCI, athletes reported higher scores on the sport and physical function and happiness subscales and lower scores on the pain/comfort subscale.

Conclusions:

Athletes reported higher scores on a number of SF-36 and PODCI subscales related to mental, emotional, and physical well-being than nonathletes. Our findings suggest that athletic involvement may be a benefit to the overall health status of adolescents and imply that athletes may be a distinct adolescent group requiring their own normative values when using the SF-36 and PODCI.

Snyder, Bay, Parsons, Sauers, and Valovich McLeod are with the Dept of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ. Martinez is with the Athletic Dept., Providence College, Providence, RI.

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