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What Impact Do Chronic Illnessess In Children Have On Their Families, and What Are the Psychological Consequences For the Patient, Siblings and Parents?

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Introduction

WHAT IMPACT DO CHRONIC ILLNESSESS IN CHILDREN HAVE ON THEIR FAMILIES, AND WHAT ARE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE PATIENT, SIBLINGS AND PARENTS? Approximately 10% to 15% of children under 18 years of age have a chronic physical illness or condition and the number of children with chronic conditions has increased substantially in recent decades. It is obvious that chronic illnesses in children do have an immense impact on the families of these children. There are many psychological consequences for the sufferers, their siblings and their parents. Firstly we start by briefly looking at other consequences apart from the symptoms of their illnesses that the patients have to deal with. Sean Phipps's research revealed a high occurrence of a repressive adaptive style in children with cancer. To investigate whether repressive adaptation in the population is premorbid or reactive, adaptive styles were considered in children with cancer at the period of diagnosis and at 6 months and 1 year after the diagnosis. Contrast groups included healthy children and children with serious chronic illnesses. ...read more.

Middle

These children were in families which had other severe parental and marital troubles thought to occur after the ill child's diagnosis. This evidence shows that chronic illnesses in their siblings could lead to social problems for their siblings, which would be the result of psychological problems that the siblings would have. There are also psychological consequences for the parents of the ill children. Ellen Silver considered whether parents' self-reported psychological distress was a consequences of chronic health conditions in their children. Data from a telephone survey on children's health and parents' psychiatric symptoms from 380 inner-city neighbourhood subjects and 398 population based subjects was used. The health status inventory utilized was the questionnaire for identifying children with chronic illnesses, a household level survey made up of 39 items. The Psychiatric Symptom Index assessed the parents' psychological distress. In the national test, parents of the children with functional restrictions were further distressed than parents whose children went through other kinds of illness consequences or none. ...read more.

Conclusion

And unfortunately it is difficult to determine which is the one that affects them the most. Having considered all of the negative consequences of the chronic illness of a child, it is important to remember that of late family studies have researched the role of social support, which explains why some people experience higher life stresses but do not display a high level of distress. More attention is given to social psychological factors, in particular social support and coping strategies, monitoring the effects of stress. The highly consistent findings give evidence of the importance perception plays in social support that is most strongly linked to health outcomes. In the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment, and Adaptation by McCubbin and McCubbin in 1993, social support is seen as one of the chief mediators between psychological well-being and stress. In conclusion although it is difficult for all involved when there is a child suffering from a chronic illness, there is now some support for these people and hopefully the support will increase in time so that there are not so many psychological consequences for the patients, the siblings or their parents. ...read more.

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