Comparison of Adjustment of School-Age Children With and Without Chronic Conditions: Results from Community-Based Samples

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ABSTRACT.We assessed whether children in the 1990s who were identified as having chronic conditions by using a new noncategorical technique (the Questionnaire for Identifying Children with Chronic Conditions) were as well adjusted as children without chronic conditions, and whether selection factors or sociodemographic variables accounted for any observed differences. Random-digit-dial telephone surveys were conducted using two separate samples: one consisting of 1275 children in 654 inner-city households and the other of 1388 children in a national sample of 712 households. Children with chronic conditions had poorer parent-reported functioning on the Personal Adjustment and Role Skills Scale total score and three of its six subscales (Hostility, Dependency, and Productivity). Differences in two other subscales (Withdrawal and Anxiety/Depression) were significant only for the inner-city sample. The results were consistent when controlling for other potentially confounding factors. These findings demonstrate that mental health risks continue to occur among contemporary community-based samples of children with chronic health conditions who are identified by using noncategorical techniques. These risks have implications for the care of those children.

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