Psychosocial determinants of quality of life in parents of obese children seeking inpatient treatment

Petra Warschburger, Daniela Kühne
Quality of Life Research 2014, 23 (7): 1985-95

PURPOSE: To examine and identify predictors of parental health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a sample of obese and very obese children participating in an inpatient program for treating obesity.

METHODS: Data are part of a prospective multicenter randomized-controlled intervention trial. Parents (n = 463) of obese and very obese children (7-13 years) completed standardized questionnaires assessing their own and their child's HRQoL, psychosocial functioning, demographics and parental weight-specific self-efficacy on the child's admission to an inpatient pediatric weight management program. Weight and height of the children were measured by trained personnel; parental weight was assessed via self-report.

RESULTS: Parents reported lower mental HRQoL compared to healthy adults and even lower than reference values for acute or chronic illness. With respect to physical HRQoL, parents of obese children reported higher scores than both groups. Effect sizes were small to medium. Overweight parents reported a lower physical HRQoL. Mental HRQoL was higher for married parents with a higher educational level and a higher self-efficacy and for those whose children depicted fewer behavioral problems and reported a higher HRQoL. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that weight-specific self-efficacy explained 3% of variance in mental HRQoL in addition to the demographic and child psychosocial variables. Parental self-efficacy also partially mediated the association between the child's HRQoL and parental mental HRQoL.

CONCLUSION: Childhood obesity is associated with reduced parental HRQoL. Interventions for obesity in children should consider the parents' psychosocial situation as well. Enhancing parental self-efficacy may be a promising approach.

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