Relationships of Self-Esteem and Efficacy to Psychological Distress in Mothers of Children With Chronic Physical Illnesses

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This study examined relationships of children's illness-related functional limitations and 2 maternal psychological resources, self-esteem and efficacy, to symptoms of psychological distress in 365 urban mothers of 5-to 9-year-old children with diverse chronic illnesses. Multiple regression controlling for sociodemographic variables indicated that presence of functional limitations in the child and lower resources each were associated with higher maternal scores on a psychological symptom scale. Self-esteem had a main effect on maternal distress; however, a significant Efficacy × Functional Status interaction term suggested that mothers experienced greater distress when their children had illness-related functional limitations and maternal efficacy was low. Interventions aimed at enhancing maternal psychological resources may reduce the likelihood of distress in mothers of children with chronic illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1995



  • childhood
  • chronic illness
  • efficacy
  • maternal distress
  • psychological resources
  • self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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