The transition from childhood to adolescence is a period of developmental changes, with social influences. Few previous studies have analyzed changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) during childhood and adolescence based on longitudinal studies in high-income countries. This study aimed to describe the evolution of HRQoL scores by gender in a school sample over a 7-year period in Argentina.
Prospective cohort of children attending fourth grade in public schools. HRQoL was measured using the KIDSCREEN-52 questionnaire. Trajectories of HRQoL were estimated for girls and boys through multilevel models, adjusted by socioeconomic status (SES).
The study began in 2014 with a sample of 494 school children, reaching an 85.6% response rate in 2016, 31.4% in 2018, and 41.9% in 2021. Most of the predicted scores are negatively associated with linear age or/and quadratic age, suggesting a decrease in scores over the 7-year follow-up. Interactions between gender and age denote an increase in the differences in scores between girls and boys over time in favor of the latter. For the Index, Physical Well-being, Psychological Well-being, Autonomy, Parent relations, Social support and peers and Financial resources, individuals with medium or high SES have significantly higher scores than those with low SES.
HRQoL scores decrease during the transition period from childhood to adolescence, with girls showing the greatest decrease. There were also socioeconomic inequalities in the evolution of HRQoL in a context characterized by social segregation and economic crisis, possibly aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.