To analyse whether activities and participation in daily life differed between adolescents with obstetrical brachial plexus palsy (OBPP) and their able-bodied peers.
Fifty-one teenagers born in 1985-1987 with OBPP and a comparison group consisting of 116 age-matched adolescents in a socioeconomically and socioculturally representative area answered a self-report questionnaire concerning their daily life, school performance and friendships. The OBPP group was divided into three functional groups according to the degree of severity of the OBPP.
Subjects with OBPP had interests, activities and a social life very similar to those of the teenagers in the comparison group. Differences were, however, found in self-esteem for sport/motor activities, with self-esteem being significantly lower in teenagers with the most severe type of OBPP. The OBPP groups were concerned about the risks for their affected and unaffected limb.
In our society, adolescents with OBPP report a typical teenage life today. However, the indications for distress and worry related to the disability have to be considered.