Chronic childhood illness and maternal mental health

Dorothy Jones Jessop, Catherine Kohler Riessman, Ruth E.K. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


The relationship between the health status of a child and the psychiatric symptoms of a mother is examined for an inner-city sample (n = 209) of chronically ill children with heterogeneous physical diagnoses. Whereas no relationship exists between the mother's psychiatric symptoms and a medical provider's report of the burden that the child's condition entails, there is a relationship between the functional status of the child and the mental health status of the mother. Children with more functional limitations have mothers who are more symptomatic. The presence of other stressors in the family, familial impact of the illness, poor physical health of the mother, and the absence of a confidant for the women are also associated with the mother's psychiatric symptoms in a multivariate analysis that includes traditional predictors of women's mental health. In contrast with the results from more general population studies, a greater number of children may be protective for a mother of a child with a chronic illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1988


  • chronic illness
  • mental health of mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic childhood illness and maternal mental health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this