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congenital, heart defects, quality of life



  1. Shackleford, Jenna L.
  2. Spratling, Regena
  3. Kelley, Susan J.


Background: Improved autonomy, relatedness, competence, self-management, and treatment adherence have been linked to better health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in adolescents with chronic illnesses. Nonetheless, potential mediating relationships among these concepts have not been investigated. Mediation research is necessary to fully examine ways to improve health and other outcomes for adolescents living with chronic illnesses.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among the three innate needs (autonomy, relatedness, and competence) of the self-determination theory (SDT)-self-management and treatment adherence-and its relationship to HRQOL for adolescents with congenital heart disease (CHD). The current study examined the potential mediation effects of self-management and treatment adherence on the relationship between the three SDT variables on HRQOL.


Methods: Ninety-two adolescents with CHD completed self-report surveys (Basic Psychological Needs Autonomy and Relatedness subscales, Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale, UNC TRxANSITION Scale, and Pediatric Quality of Life 4.0 Generic Core Scale). Exploratory multiple regression and the bootstrap method were used to examine the relationship between the SDT variables and HRQOL and test whether these relationships were mediated by self-management and treatment adherence after controlling for covariates.


Results: The mediation hypothesis was not supported, indicating that self-management and treatment adherence do not mediate the relationship between the SDT variables and HRQOL for adolescents with CHD. However, multiple regression findings suggest optimizing autonomy and competence contributes to better self-management and treatment adherence and that better autonomy, competence, and relatedness improves HRQOL.


Discussion: The findings in this study indicate that studies with larger samples are needed if self-management and treatment adherence mediates the innate needs and HRQOL in adolescents with CHD. Future research focusing on other potential mediators affecting the relationship with HRQOL is warranted to improve the transition into adulthood.