All Posts in “illness”

Does Stress Make Your Child Sicker?

It is well known that adults who have higher degrees of stress are at an increased chance of catching an infectious disease but is the same true for children?  A study considered this issue by examining the effect of a stressful event (parental death, death of a sibling, or parental divorce) on whether a child before the age of 15 was more likely to be hospitalized due to an infectious disease.

  • Children who suffered one of the above life stressors were 13% more likely to have a less severe infectious disease.
  • Specifically, parental divorce increased the likelihood of contracting an infectious disease by 11%.
  • Curiously, following a parent’s death, children were not more likely to catch an infectious disease.
  • Following a sibling’s death, children were 34% more likely to contract a less severe infectious disease.

Abstract: Stressful life events in childhood and risk of infectious disease hospitalization, European Journal of Pediatrics


Parenting a Child with a Chronic Illness

There is greater stress among parents with chronically ill children than those parents in the general population.

The greater stress was mostly associated with the responsibility of managing the child’s medical needs.  The parental stress was not related to the duration or severity of the child’s illness.

Factors such as adequate training in treating  the child’s illness as well as easy access to support from medical professionals would seem to go a long way to reducing the stress of these parents.

Abstract: Parenting Stress among Caregivers of Children with Chronic Illness: A Systematic Review, Journal of Pediatric Psychology