Children, Families, and Chronic Disease: Psychological Models and Methods of Care

Children, Families, and Chronic Disease: Psychological Models and Methods of Care

Children, Families, and Chronic Disease: Psychological Models and Methods of Care

Children, Families, and Chronic Disease: Psychological Models and Methods of Care

Synopsis

Chronic childhood disease brings psychological challenges for families & carers as well as the children. Bradford explores how they cope, the psychological & social factors that influence outcomes, & the ways in which services can be improved.

Excerpt

I first became interested in the field of chronic illness and its effects on children and their families whilst training to be a clinical psychologist at Oxford. in my last year of the course, prompted by the fact that relatively little attention had been paid to this specific client group, I chose to do a research project on how children coped with medical procedures. Observing young children going through a routine investigation, I became fascinated by the following question: why was it that some children coped with the procedure, whilst others became highly distressed to the point of needing sedation or the procedure being abandoned?

This basic question has remained with me in my clinical work and underpins much of what is contained in this book. What can psychology tell us about why some children and their families cope whilst others with the same condition, or even one that is less serious, fare less well? What theories have been advanced and how well do they operate in practice? How might we better identify those at risk of poor coping so that scarce resources can be targeted more effectively? How might services be organised to promote patterns of adjustment and coping in children and their carers?

These questions underpin a series of studies that I have been involved in over the past ten years whilst working as a practising clinical psychologist in both hospital and community settings. the aim of my research has been to explore the psychological effects of chronic disease on the child patient and their parents, to highlight psychosocial factors that influence outcomes and to develop models that can help guide interventions. in the chapters that follow I will present my studies and draw out their implications for theory and practice. For me, investigating these issues has helped in thinking about what processes might be involved in adaptation to chronic

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