Evaluating the impact of parental chronic illness on children

Stephen Mark Lange, Fordham University


This study investigated the impact of parental chronic illness on children aged 6-13 years. The specific focus of this study was the relationships between children's distress and four independent variables: the chronically ill parent's diagnosis, the degree of functional limitation experienced by the parent, the chronically ill parent's gender, and the child's gender. Seventy-two two-parent households, including households with one parent with either arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Guillan-Barre syndrome, or a healthy control, recruited from hospitals, medical practices, service organizations, and schools participated. Structured interviews were conducted using the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique to assess functional limitation, and the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist and NHIS Assessment of Child Health to assess children's distress. Results indicated that children of chronically ill parents more frequently receive borderline-clinical or clinical range scores on the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist Internalizing Factor. This study supported the conclusion that degree of parental functional limitation, rather than diagnosis, is related to children's distress. No relationships were found between the gender of either the chronically ill parent or child and the level of distress experienced by children.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Social psychology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Lange, Stephen Mark, "Evaluating the impact of parental chronic illness on children" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9631042.