INTRODUCTION: Children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) have to deal with a complex and demanding daily treatment regime which can have a negative impact on the quality of life (QoL) of these patients. The objective of the present study is to review studies that have compared generic quality of life of children and adolescents with T1DM with that of healthy peers. In addition, we will examine whether QoL differs between boys and girls, and across different developmental stages.
METHODS: A systematic literature search using PubMed was conducted for the years 2000 through May 2012. 17 studies were eligible for the current review. Effect sizes were computed to estimate the effects of having T1DM on QoL in children and adolescents.
RESULTS: Although individual studies reported small to moderate effect sizes on the distinct QoL-domains, the weighted effect sizes across all studies indicated no differences in QoL-domains between children and adolescents with T1DM and healthy controls. However, disease-specific problems were certainly present. Girls with T1DM reported lower generic and disease-specific QoL than boys with T1DM. Relationships between age and generic or disease-specific QoL remained unclear.
CONCLUSIONS: Although children and adolescents with T1DM have to live with a demanding treatment regime, overall results revealed that their generic QoL is not impaired compared to healthy peers. However, disease-specific QoL problems, including a negative impact of diabetes on daily functioning, and diabetes-related worries were certainly present. Longitudinal research is needed in order to provide tailored care for children of all ages with T1DM.