Psychosocial implications of chronic illness in adolescence

Donald P. Orr, Susan C. Weller, Betty Satterwhite, I. Barry Pless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


On hundred forty-four young adults and adolescents representative of an upstate New York community were studied on two occasions to identify relationships between chronic illness and psychosocial well-being. In the 8 years since the original survey, the health status of 62 of the 106 with a chronic medical condition improved, remained unchanged in 27, and worsened in 17. Subjects whose chronic medical problem persisted and was associated with at least mild impairment in daily living demonstrated significantly more psychosocial problems, centering around future plans, perceptions of family life, and having a driver's license. Those who had recovered from their illness or did not have any associated impairment appeared no different from the controls. Multidimensional scaling confirmed that chronic illness and poor psychosocial functioning are related, as are physical wellness and better psychosocial function. These results confirm the contention that chronic illness persisting into adolescence has a small but measurable effect on psychosocial adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-157
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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