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Children With Chronic Illness Can Have Normal Life Satisfaction

Parent-reported health lower, but life satisfaction comparable to that of peers without chronic illness

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MONDAY, May 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Children with chronic illness have lower general health, but their life satisfaction is comparable to that of their peers without chronic illness, according to a study published online May 6 in Pediatrics.

Courtney K. Blackwell, Ph.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues examined children's general health and life satisfaction in the context of chronic illness. Between March and December 2017, 1,113 caregivers completed the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Parent-Proxy Global Health Measure and the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Parent-Proxy Life Satisfaction Measure for 1,253 children aged 5 to 9 years.

The researchers found that compared with children without illness, those with chronic illness had worse general health (adjusted β = −1.20; 95 percent confidence interval, −2.49 to 0.09). In contrast, levels of life satisfaction were similar for children with chronic illness (adjusted β = −0.19; 95 percent confidence interval, −1.25 to 0.87). Even after adjustment for demographics and family environmental stressors, children's psychological stress had the strongest negative association with both outcomes.

"Overall, this work highlights clinical opportunities to broaden the perspective of health beyond the absence of disease to one in which all children, regardless of illness or impairment, can have well-being," the authors write.

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