Psychosocial predictors of quality of life among South Africa adolescents receiving antiretroviral therapy

Ashraf Kagee, Bronwyne Coetzee, Stefani du Toit, Maria Loades

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Minimal research has been conducted to understand how fatigue influences quality of life (QOL) among adolescents living with HIV. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, pain and QOL among adolescents receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Using a cross-sectional survey design, we studied 134 South African adolescents receiving an ART at community clinics.

Participants in general reported low levels of fatigue, insomnia, distress and pain and non-problematic levels of QOL. In the regression model, the linear combination of these variables explained 49% of the variance in QOL, a large effect size. Insomnia, anxiety, and depression significantly predicted QOL but surprisingly fatigue and pain did not.

Many members of the sample experienced non-clinical levels of sleep disturbance, fatigue and psychosocial distress. Similarly, QOL was within the normal range. These findings are surprising as the commonly held assumption is that adolescents living with HIV, especially those of poorer socio-economic backgrounds, would experience lower QOL than the norm. Even though scores on the instruments measuring these variables fell in the non-clinical range, they were still robustly predictive of poor QOL. Future research may address the relationship between self-reported adherence and QOL, possibly by examining the role of viral load as a mediating variable. Further research may also focus on non-adherent adolescents to understand the ways in which fatigue and other factors such as school functioning and social interaction influence QOL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number1
Early online date22 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Fatigue
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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