Examining the Role of Resilience and Grit on the Functioning of Youth with Chronic Medical Conditions

Eric Riklin, Fordham University


Pediatric chronic medical conditions (CMCs) can have a significant effect on a youth’s physical and psychological development and functioning, particularly among those with pulmonary and respiratory conditions. Studies suggest that resiliency (i.e., coping, self-efficacy, flourishing, and positive behaviors) and grit may mitigate the physical and psychological impact of CMCs. However, studies have not yet assessed these relationships among youth with CMCs. The primary aim of the current study was to examine the relationship between resiliency and grit, and psychological and physical functioning among children and adolescents with and without CMCs, aged 8-18, across New York City. This study leveraged data from a larger parent study conducted at the Child Mind Institute, the Healthy Brain Network (HBN), to compare the psychological and physical functioning of those with (N=315) and without CMCs (N=857), as well as those with pulmonary and respiratory conditions (N=104) and those with other CMCs (N=211), across various parent- and self-report outcome measures. Utilizing a factor analysis, two composite resiliency scores were created: “persistence” (i.e., combining coping and self-efficacy) and “positive outlook” (i.e., combining child flourishing and positive behaviors). Findings revealed a significant difference in physical impairment between youth with and without CMCs, such that youth with CMCs displayed greater physical impairment than youth without CMCs as measured by the parent-reported WHODAS 2.0. There were no other statistically significant differences between youth with and without CMCs, or youth with pulmonary and respiratory conditions and youth with other CMCs, across other physical impairment and psychological functioning outcome measures. Multivariate regression analyses revealed that “persistence,” “positive outlook,” and grit predicted different aspects of physical impairment and psychological functioning, and these relationships varied based on the grouping of CMCs. These findings suggest that among youth with CMCs, there is a need for addressing a range of resiliency and grit factors and medically related constructs across various CMCs. Limitations and clinical implications of the current study are discussed. Future research is needed to address the methodological limitations of the present study and to further assess the role of resiliency and grit in the context of pediatric psychology.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Developmental psychology|Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

Riklin, Eric, "Examining the Role of Resilience and Grit on the Functioning of Youth with Chronic Medical Conditions" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28963673.