To investigate associations of mental disorders and physical illnesses during adolescence with quality of life (QOL) 17 years later.
The Children in the Community Study, a prospective longitudinal investigation.
Upstate New York.
A community-based sample of mothers and their offspring were interviewed.
Main Outcome Measures
Axis I disorders and Axis II personality disorders and physical illnesses were assessed by self-report and mother report in 1985-1986. Outcome indicators of QOL were assessed in 2001-2004.
Compared with participants without adolescent illness or disorder, those with a history of physical illness reported poorer physical health (mean difference [MD], −4.8); those with a history of an Axis I disorder reported poorer physical health (MD, −8.0) and more problematic social relationships (MD, −4.5); and those with a history of personality disorder reported poorer physical health (MD, −8.2), more problematic social relationships (MD, −5.0), lower psychological well-being (MD, −3.6), and more adversity within their environmental context (MD, −4.6) in adulthood. Comorbid physical illness and mental disorder were associated with all 5 QOL domains (MD, −3.1 to −11.9). After adjusting for all demographic variables and comorbidity, associations remained between physical illness and poor physical health (effect size [ES], −0.33); an Axis I disorder and problematic social relationships (ES, −0.37); and personality disorder and problematic social relationships (ES, −0.36), low psychological well-being (ES, −0.23), impaired role function (ES, −0.24), and an adverse environmental context (ES, −0.50).
Mental disorders may have more adverse long-term associations with QOL than do physical illnesses. Adolescent personality disorders may have a more adverse impact on adult QOL than do adolescent Axis I disorders.