Quality of life of adolescents and young adults with Cerebral Palsy in three communities in the Middle East

Netta Harries1, Ibtisam Nammourah2, Muhammed Al-Jarrah3, Akram Amro4, Simona Bar-Haim5

1Assaf-Harofeh, Human Motion Analysis Laboratory Zerifin, Israel
2Jerusalem Princess Basma Center for Disabled  Children, Department of Physical Therapy, East Jerusalem  
3Jordan University of Science and Technology, Faculty  of Applied Medical Sciences, Irbid, Jordan
4Al-Quds University, Department of Physical Therapy, Abu Dees, Palestinian Authority
5Dr. Bar-Haim, PhD, PT, Faculty of Health Sciences Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel


Introduction: While planning intervention and therapy for people with disabilities, the guiding thought should be to improve their quality of life (QoL). QoL is a subjective concept incorporating the individual’s physical health, psychological state, social relationships and the environmental conditions.


Aim: To determine the perceptions of the QoL of adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy (CP) in three communities in the Middle East. Measuring QoL perceptions is important in evaluating and planning rehabilitation interventions.


Method: The WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire was self-reported by 51 teenagers and youths with CP, a convenience sample from three communities in Jordan (n=20), the Palestinian Authority (PA) (n=22) and Israel (n=9). 29 males. Age range for the sample was 13-23 yrs, of Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) II n=33 and III n=18.

The questionnaire contains 26 items and addresses four QoL domains: physical health, psychological health, social relationships and environment. Two additional items measure overall QoL and general health.

Results: Overall QoL and general health were “good”. Average domain scores were at or above 50%, considered “acceptable to good”. Those at the GMFCS III reported higher overall QoL in the psychological and social relations domains than did those at level II. The social domain score was higher for male than for female participants. The older group (18-23 yr) reported a better physical domain score than did the younger group (13-17 yr). The social relationships scores of the older group and of the females and were especially low among the higher mobility group (GMFCS II). The overall QoL (Q1) was higher among participants in Israel than in Jordan or the PA. The physical domain scores of participants in Israel and in Jordan were higher than those in the PA. The psychological domain and environment domain scores in Israel were higher than those of participants in Jordan or the PA.


Conclusions: This population of youth with CP needs particular help in creating opportunities and encouraging recreational and social encounters to develop peer relationships. Special emphasis should be given to empowering females in the Middle East.


Key words: quality of life, WHOQOL-BREF, cerebral palsy, adolescents, young adults

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