The Differential Effect of Child Age on the Illness Intrusiveness–Parent Distress Relationship in Juvenile Rheumatic Disease

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Objective:Examine age-related patterns of association between parent-reported illness intrusiveness and parent distress in parents of youth with juvenile rheumatic diseases (JRDs).Study Design:Cross-sectional multiple regression analysis tested child age as a moderator in the illness intrusiveness–distress relationship.Participants:Fifty-two parents of children ages 9–17 diagnosed with JRD.Main Outcome Measures:The Illness Intrusiveness Scale—Parent Version and the Brief Symptom Inventory.Results:Parent-reported illness intrusiveness demonstrated a significant main effect on distress for all parents in the sample. This was qualified by an Illness Intrusiveness × Child Age interaction. Illness intrusiveness was found to be significantly related to distress among parents of older youth, but was only marginally related to distress for parents of younger children.Conclusions:Results are consistent with family life cycle development models of adjustment to childhood chronic illness. The clinical implications of the findings are also discussed.

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