Moderating effects of family structure on the relationship between physical and mental health in urban children with chronic illness

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Examined whether certain family structures modify the relationship between psychological adjustment and severity of physical illness, as measured by an index of functional status, among children with chronic illness. 352 families were divided into four types: two biological parents (n = 149), mother plus another adult relative (n = 47), mother plus unrelated spouse or partner (n = 23), and mother alone (n = 133). Correlations between children's functional status and adjustment were higher in the mother plus unrelated partner and mother alone families, and lower when mother lived with either the biological father or another adult relative. Children in the mother plus unrelated partner group also tended to have poorer overall adjustment than other children. Results are discussed in terms of family structure, childhood illness and adjustment, and the possible mechanisms that interrelate these variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 20 1996



  • childhood chronic illness
  • family structure
  • functional status
  • psychological adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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