Modelling quality of life in children with intellectual disability using regression trees

Peter Jacoby, Katrina Williams, Dinah Reddihough, Helen Leonard, Andrew Whitehouse, Jenny Downs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To identify factors associated with quality of life (QoL) in children with intellectual disability. We aimed to identify patterns of association not observable in previous hypothesis-driven regression modelling using the same data set from a cross-sectional observational study. Method: A questionnaire was completed by 442 caregivers of children with confirmed intellectual disability and a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or Rett syndrome. The Quality of Life Inventory-Disability (QI-Disability) questionnaire was used to assess child QoL. Independent variables described the child's health, functional abilities, community participation, and sociodemographics. The R package rpart was used to build the regression trees. Results: The mean total QI-Disability score was 69.2 out of a maximum 100. The subgroup with the lowest QoL scores comprised children with a high degree of daytime sleepiness (n=74, mean 57.5) while the subgroup with the highest QoL scores (n=91, mean 80.3) comprised children with little daytime sleepiness who participated more frequently in community activities and displayed good eye contact while listening. Interpretation: Regression tree analysis provides insights into the relative importance of associated factors. Sleep problems and community participation were more important than functional abilities in accounting for differences in QoL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1155
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number9
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


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