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J Child Health Care. 2014 Dec;18(4):346-57. doi: 10.1177/1367493513496668. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Consequences of caring for a child with a chronic disease: Employment and leisure time of parents.

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Emma Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Academic Medical Center, The Netherlands.
Emma Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Chronically ill children require several hours of additional care per day compared to healthy children. As parents provide most of this care, they have to incorporate it into their daily schedule, which implies a reduction in time for other activities. The study aimed to assess the effect of having a chronically ill child on parental employment and parental leisure activity time, and to explore the role of demographic, social, and disease-related variables in relation to employment and leisure activities. Outcomes of 576 parents of chronically ill children and 441 parents of healthy school children were analyzed with multivariate regression. Having a chronically ill child was negatively related with family employment, maternal labor force participation, and leisure activity time. Use of child care was positively related to family and maternal employment of the total group of parents. Within parents of chronically ill children, most important finding was the negative relation of dependency of the child on daily care and low parental educational level with family and maternal employment. In conclusion, parents of chronically ill children, mothers in particular, are disadvantaged in society probably due to the challenge of combining child care with work and leisure time.


Chronic illness; employment; functional limitation; leisure activity time; parents

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