Children with chronic physical disorders: maternal reports of their psychological adjustment. Academic Article uri icon


  • Advances in biomedical science have resulted in dramatic improvements in the medical care of chronically ill and handicapped children. Past measurement problems have resulted in a lack of clarity regarding the psychological adjustment of these children. The mothers of 270 chronically ill and handicapped children were administered the Child Behavior Checklist in an attempt to identify patterns of behavioral functioning across six pediatric chronic disorders: juvenile diabetes, spina bifida, hemophilia, chronic obesity, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and cerebral palsy. In general, it was found that children in all chronic disorder groups were perceived by their mothers as evidencing on the average more behavioral and social competence problems than expected based on norms for children in general. However, their behavioral and social adjustment was reported as better than that of a normative sample of children referred to mental health clinics. There were essentially no differences between children with different chronic disorders in terms of behavior problems and social competence. The results were taken to support the view that these children were as a group at risk for adjustment problems. They were also discussed in terms of the noncategorial approach, which suggests that similar psychosocial challenges are faced across pediatric chronic physical disorders. © 1988 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

author list (cited authors)

  • Wallander, J. L., Varni, J. W., Babani, L., Banis, H. T., & Wilcox, K. T.

citation count

  • 171

complete list of authors

  • Wallander, JL||Varni, JW||Babani, L||Banis, HT||Wilcox, KT

publication date

  • January 1988