-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Parenting a chronically
ill child can cause stress that affects the whole family.
That's the finding of researchers who reviewed 96 studies
conducted in 12 countries between 1980 and 2012. The studies
included families in which there were children up to age 21 with
asthma, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, epilepsy, juvenile
rheumatoid arthritis and sickle cell disease.
The demands of care sometimes created greater stress for parents
than the severity or length of their child's illness, according to
the findings published recently in the
Journal of Pediatric Psychology.
Along with their usual parenting duties, parents of chronically
ill children have to deal with special situations such as doctor or
therapy appointments, medical treatments, hospitalizations and
school issues that can overwhelm parents while they try to
integrate the ill child's needs into the family routine, the Case
Western Reserve University researchers said.
Parents in the studies reported experiencing added stress from
watching their child in pain, from worrying about the child's
vulnerability and from explaining the health problems to people
outside the family.
Study co-author Rebecca Hazen, a psychologist and assistant
professor in the pediatrics department, offered some stress
reduction tips for parents with chronically ill children:
Fifteen percent of U.S. families have a chronically ill child
with special needs, according to the Centers for Disease Control
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more for parents about
coping with chronic illness.
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