Is cognitive functioning associated with subjective quality of life in young adults with spina bifida and hydrocephalus?
Hans A. Barf, Marcel W.M. Post, Marjolein Verhoef , Rob H.J.M. Gooskens, Arie J.H. Prevo
Objective: To test the hypothesis that cognitive functioning is associated with subjective quality of life of young adults with spina bifida and hydrocephalus (SBHC).
Design: Cross-sectional multi-centre study in The Netherlands.
Subjects: A total of 110 young adults with SBHC (16–25 years old, 63% female).
Methods: Cognitive domains measured were intelligence (Raven Standard Progressive Matrices), memory (Wechsler Memory Scale) and executive functioning (Wisconsin modified Card Sorting Test (WmCST), Trail Making Test A and B (TMT) and UNKA word production test). Subjective quality of life was measured with a visual analogue scale. Correlations and hierarchical regression analysis controlling for age, gender and functional independence were applied.
Results: The TMT score was significantly associated (–0.25) with subjective quality of life. In the hierarchical regression analysis both the WmCST and TMT scores were significant determinants of subjective quality of life (Beta values 0.24 and –0.31 respectively). Intelligence, memory and word production were not related to subjective quality of life. All 5 cognitive variables together explained a significant additional 14.6% of the variance of subjective quality of life (total explained variance 19.9%).
Conclusion: Executive functioning was associated with subjective quality of life in young adults with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. This finding underlines the importance of examining cognitive functioning of persons with SBHC in addition to medical and functional status in medical care and outcome research.
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