quality of life


 In psychiatry, the concept of Quality of Life (QoL) has gradually gained importance and interest, becoming a significant outcome measure in many clinical trials. Until now in pharmacological research on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) most used outcome measures rely on the effect on behavioural symptoms and functioning impairment, while QoL has rarely been considered. In 2013, CREA has performed a systematic mapping of literature, with particular reference to adolescence and adulthood, which has been published in the journal 'Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities'. The authors reviewed the international literature on the basis of the following questions: did pharmacological interventions on ASD include QoL as an outcome measure? If yes, how and to what extent? What consideration was given to generic (whole-person) QoL? Research through most diffused engines found 25 articles matching the keywords. After title and abstract check only six were considered eligible and relevant. Two were excluded for language and 17 for lack of relevance. Ten did not include pharmacological treatment, three did not include ASD, one did not include both pharmacological treatment and ASD, one referred only to childhood, one referred only to childhood and did not consider QoL, and one did not include both pharmacological treatment and QoL. After full article reading only three papers resulted to be really useful to the mapping. The literature mapping revealed an extreme lack of studies including QoL as an outcome measure, and the few contributions which have been identified showed significant conceptual and methodological limits. The few identified contributions refer to the Health-Related Quality of Life (HR-QoL), which defines the patient's perception of health with prevalent reference to those aspects of life specifically related to well-being and functioning. Moreover, findings did not allow any comparison of effectiveness between classes of drugs or single compounds with respect to QoL. For years the international scientific community has shown an increasing interest in the application of QoL and other measures for person-centered psychopharmacological practice, but to make these measures applicable to ASD and evaluate its usefulness major research efforts are still needed. Although the international scientific community shows increasing interest on QoL and other person-centred measures in psychopharmacological practice, in respect to ASD considerable research efforts are needed to make these measures applicable and their usefulness actually proved.



Bertelli M, Piva Merli M, Rossi M, Lassi S, Bianco A, Colangelo J (2013). Quality of life in pharmacological intervention on autism spectrum disorders. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 7(1), 40-48.

Bertelli M, Rossi M, Keller R, Lassi S (2016) Update on psychopharmacology for autism spectrum disorders. Advances In Mental Health And Intellectual Disabilities, 10(1), 6-26.

Marco Bertelli