Parental physical illness as a risk for psychosocial maladjustment in children and adolescents: Epidemiological findings from a national survey in Germany
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The authors assessed the risk for psychosocial maladjustment in a population-based sample of dependent children of parents with serious physical illness. In the context of The Hamburg Health Survey, a wide range of data on current life situation and health status was collectedfrom a representative sample of families with children and adolescents between 4 and 18 years old (N = 1, 950). For 4- to 18-year-old children and adolescents in Germany, the prevalence of a serious physical illness in a parent was 4.1 %. The adjusted risk of psychosocial maladjustment in this target group, depending on the case definition, is elevated, with internalizing problems being more prevalent than externalizing problems. Although problems for affected boys decline with puberty, they increase for girls. In this age-group, girls and boys appear to be under particular strain when the respective same-sex parent has a serious physical illness. Exposure to serious parental physical illness is an epidemiologically relevant risk factor for psychosocial maladjustment in children and adolescents that needs to be better recognized by medical professionals.
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Psychology Research Group
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PSYCHOSOMATICS, 48 pp. 476 - 481
AMER PSYCHIATRIC PUBLISHING, INC