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Perceived Self-Competence, Psychosocial Adjustment, and Quality of Life in Pediatric Patients with Pacemakers

Gutierrez-Colina, Ana M. BA*; Eaton, Cyd BS*; Cheng, Patricia PhD*; Strieper, Margaret DO†,‡; Frias, Patrick MD†,‡; Gooden, Kevin CTT; Blount, Ronald L. PhD§

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: July/August 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 6 - p 360–366
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000073
Original Article

Objectives: To compare participants' self-competence levels to normative data and examine self-competence as a potential protective factor against poorer health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and psychosocial adjustment in children with pacemakers.

Methods: Twenty-seven children between the ages of 8 and 18 years and their caregivers were recruited from a pediatric pacemaker clinic. Participants completed self-report and parent-proxy measures of children's health-related quality of life (HRQOL), self-competence, and psychosocial functioning, which included externalizing and internalizing symptoms, adaptive skills, and behavioral symptoms.

Results: Participants reported significantly lower levels of self-competence compared to healthy norms. Self-competence was significantly and positively correlated with most HRQOL domains. Few significant correlations emerged between self-competence and various domains of psychosocial functioning.

Conclusion: Self-competence may function as a protective factor against lower HRQOL in children with pacemakers. There was less evidence that self-competence may play a protective role against lower adaptive skills and higher externalizing, internalizing, and behavioral symptoms. Clinical implications of these findings, limitations of the study, and areas for future research are discussed.

*Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA;

Sibley Heart Center Cardiology, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA; and

Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA;

§Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Address for reprints: Ana M. Gutierrez-Colina, BA, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Psychology Building, Athens, GA 30602-3013; e-mail:

This study was supported by the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiac Research Committee.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received February , 2014

Accepted May , 2014

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins