PURPOSE: This study compares HRQOL among subgroups of infants with asthma-like symptoms to a subgroup without such symptoms and examines independent associations between asthma-like symptoms during the first year of life and HRQOL at age 12 months.
METHODS: Our study sample included 5,000 infants participating in the Generation R study. Their parents completed structured questionnaires to obtain information on asthma-like symptoms, HRQOL, infants', and maternal characteristics. Asthma-like symptoms were defined according to the number of positive answers to 12 items on lower respiratory symptoms. HRQOL was measured using the ITQOL. Higher scores indicated better HRQOL.
RESULTS: Infants with asthma-like symptoms had significantly lower HRQOL scores for all ITQOL scales. Among the subgroup with severe symptoms (4% of the infants), relevant deficits in HRQOL were observed for most ITQOL scales, particularly for General Health, Bodily Pain, and Family Activities (effect sizes ≥ 0.8). In multivariate linear models, asthma-like symptoms were independently associated with 6 ITQOL scales. The population attributable risks were especially high for Family Activities, General Health, Parental Emotional, and Parental Time.
CONCLUSIONS: Asthma-like symptoms during the first year of life are associated with impaired quality of life at age 12 months. At population level, asthma-like symptoms were associated with lower HRQOL, regardless of symptom severity.