Psychosocial implications of childhood arthritis on adolescent and parent adjustment

Kathleen Marie Cuneo, Fordham University


The primary objective of the present study was to contribute to our understanding of the impact of chronic illness on the psychosocial adjustment of adolescents with childhood arthritis and their parents by describing the influence of family and support resources on adjustment. Additionally, the present study explored the relationship between adolescent self-perceptions and parent perceptions of adolescent competencies. The sample consisted of 57 adolescents with childhood arthritis, and 50 mothers and 40 fathers of these adolescents. Adolescent adjustment, as measured by the Global Self-Worth subscale of either the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (Harter, 1988b) or the Self-Perception Profile for Children (Harter, 1985), was significantly associated with the adolescent resource variables of perceived social support from family and from friends as well as family cohesion and conflict. Adolescent depression, as measured by the Children's Depression Inventory (Kovacs, 1985), was also significantly associated with perceived social support and family environment variables. In addition, adolescent depression was associated with disease severity and degree of functional limitations. Maternal global self-worth was associated with maternal education as well as family and support resources. Depression in both mothers and fathers and paternal global self-worth were not significantly associated with any of the hypothesized illness, family and support variables. Adolescent self-perceptions of athletic competence were significantly associated with illness parameter variables, however, adolescent self-perceptions of competence in other areas were not affected by illness variables. Adolescent self-perceptions of competence and maternal perceptions of adolescent competence were significantly associated in the areas of scholastic competence, social acceptance, and athletic competence. Fathers' ratings of their adolescents' competence were similar to adolescent self-perceptions of physical appearance in addition to the areas of scholastic, social, and athletic competence. In some areas where parent and adolescent ratings of competence were incongruent, the interactions between parent ratings and family relationship variables were significant.

Subject Area

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

Recommended Citation

Cuneo, Kathleen Marie, "Psychosocial implications of childhood arthritis on adolescent and parent adjustment" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9730088.