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The Impact of Childhood Non-malignant Life-threatening Illness on Parents: Gender Differences and Predictors of Parental Adjustment


Requests for reprints to: Kiki Mastroyannopoulou, The Family Consultation Centre, Newtown Centre, Nursery Road, Huntingdon, Cambs PE18 6RJ, U.K.


Mental health, family functioning, effects on employment and relationships, coping style, and perceptions of prognosis were assessed in 93 mothers and 78 fathers of children with a life-threatening non-malignant condition. Results indicated high levels of psychological distress, significant effects upon employment and relationships, and a family environment characterised by low expressiveness, cohesion, and high conflict. Differences between mothers and fathers were found on a number of variables. Length of time since diagnosis, level of family cohesion, and sex of parent significantly predicted parental mental health.