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Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. 2011 Sep;61(9-10):398-404. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1283131. Epub 2011 Jul 25.

[Sense of coherence and stress in parents of children with chronic disease and mental health disorders].

[Article in German]

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Universitätsklinik für Kinder- und Jugendheilkunde, AKH Wien, Österreich.



The aim of this study was to examine parental sense of coherence (SOC) as a resource for coming to terms with their children's disease. Furthermore we examined the interaction between parental stress experience and SOC while controlling for neuroticism. 3 groups were compared: parents of children with (1) cystic fibrosis (CF, n = 35), (2) juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA, n = 31) and (3) mental health disorders (PSY, n = 34).


Parents were asked to complete the "Heidelberger Sense of Coherence Questionnaire", the "Parenting Stress Index" and the Neuroticism Scale of the "Trierer Integriertes Persönlichkeitsinventar".


There were no significant differences in SOC and neuroticism. Parents of children with mental health disorders showed significantly higher stress levels (M = 2.60; p = 0.001) than parents of children with CF (M = 2.13) and JIA (M = 1.99). In all groups, significant negative interactions between SOC and stress experience were found (r =  - 0.46 to  - 0.65). However, this effect decreased when controlling for neuroticism (r =  - 0.26 to  - 0.31).


According to our results, the type of the child's disease is not relevant to the parents' SOC. A well developed SOC in parents is likely to be helpful in coping with the stress associated with a child's disease or disorder.

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