Contribution of speech and language difficulties to health-related quality-of-life in Australian children: A longitudinal analysis.


Purpose: The trajectory of health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) for children aged 4-9 years and its relationship with speech and language difficulties (SaLD) was examined using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Method: Generalized linear latent and mixed modelling was used to analyse data from three waves of the LSAC across four HRQoL domains (physical, emotional, social and school functioning). Four domains of HRQoL, measured using the Paediatric Quality-of-Life Inventory (PedsQLTM), were examined to find the contribution of SaLD while accounting for child-specific factors (e.g. gender, ethnicity, temperament) and family characteristics (social ecological considerations and psychosocial stressors). Result: In multivariable analyses, one measure of SaLD, namely parent concern about receptive language, was negatively associated with all HRQoL domains. Covariates positively associated with all HRQoL domains included child’s general health, maternal mental health, parental warmth and primary caregiver’s engagement in the labour force. Conclusion: Findings suggest that SaLD are associated with reduced HRQoL. For most LSAC study children, having typical speech/language skills was a protective factor positively associated with HRQoL.