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J Pediatr Psychol. 2003 Apr-May;28(3):185-90.

Brief report: Parental perceptions of child vulnerability in children with chronic illness.

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  • 1University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Pediatr Psychol. 2003 Jul-Aug;28(5):following page 373.



To determine the extent to which parental perceptions of child vulnerability predict school and social adjustment in children with chronic illness.


Sixty-nine child-parent dyads were recruited from pediatric rheumatology and pulmonary clinics. Parents completed a self-report measure of parental perceptions of child vulnerability. Children completed measures of social adjustment. Parents also provided written permission to obtain school attendance records. Physicians provided a global assessment of children's disease severity.


Increased parental perceptions of child vulnerability were related to increased social anxiety in children, even after controlling for child age and disease severity. Lower levels of parental education related to both increased perceptions of child vulnerability and increased school absences.


Health providers should assess parental beliefs and parenting practices in assessing the adjustment of children with chronic illness. Moreover, interventions aimed at enhancing child adjustment to chronic illness might best target parents as well as children.

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