Purpose: Investigate pain, fatigue, depressive symptoms and sleep disturbance in young adults with cerebral palsy compared to references.
Materials and methods: Young adults with cerebral palsy (n = 97, aged 21–34 years) and age-matched references from the general population (n = 190) rated pain using a numeric rating scale and fatigue, depressive symptoms, sleep disturbance and global health using Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® short forms. Scores were compared between cerebral palsy subgroups and the reference population. Correlation coefficients and linear regression analyses assessed interrelationships of health issues and associations with global health.
Results: Individuals with Gross Motor Function Classification System level I had less pain, fatigue and depressive symptoms, while individuals with levels II and III–V had more pain (53% and 56%, p < 0.001) and those with levels III–V more fatigue (39%, p = 0.035) than references (pain: 26%, fatigue: 14%). Pain and fatigue were more interrelated (correlation coefficients: 0.71 vs. 0.41) and stronger associated with global mental health in individuals with cerebral palsy.
Conclusions: Young adults with Gross Motor Function Classification System levels II–V report more pain and those with levels III–V report more fatigue than references. Pain and fatigue are highly interrelated and specifically relate to mental health in individuals with cerebral palsy.