24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Health Tip: Preparing Your Child For Sleepaway CampTips for Keeping Your Child Healthy at CampA Simple Way to Help Prevent Child ObesityType 1 Diabetes Might Affect Young Kids' Brain DevelopmentHow to Put Limits on Your Family's Screen TimeChickenpox Vaccine Shields Kids From Shingles, TooWhooping Cough Vaccine Effectiveness Fades With Time: StudyHundreds of Young Kids Drown in Pools Each Year -- Keep Yours SafeWhich Dogs Are More Likely to Bite Your Kids?Health Tip: Preventing Swimmer's EarAHA News: With Summer Vacation Here, How Much Screen Time Is Too Much?Health Tip: Prevent BullyingHealth Tip: Avoid Mouth Injuries in ChildrenKids Still Being Poisoned by Detergent PodsViolent Video Games, Unlocked Guns a Dangerous Combo for KidsWhy Some Kids With Eczema Are at Higher Allergy Risk'Controlled Burns' Better for Kids' Health Than Wildfires: StudyHow Kids Benefit From Doing ChoresAHA News: Report Seeks Answers About Mysterious, Dangerous Heart Disease in KidsKids of Opioid-Using Parents May Be More Likely to Attempt SuicideCholesterol Levels Improving Among U.S. KidsEarlier Bedtimes Help Kids Fight Obesity1 in 5 Kids Don't Strap on Helmets Before BikingParents, Here's How to Protect Your Child During Measles OutbreaksMore Than 600,000 Opioid Abusers Raising Kids in U.S.2 of 3 Parents Read Texts While DrivingFear of Dentist May Start Early for Minority Kids -- With Good ReasonMilitary Tourniquets Might Save Kids' Lives During School ShootingsE-Cigarettes Used in 5% of U.S. Homes With KidsMany Kids With Chronic Illness Are Still Happy: StudyDiet Sodas May Not Help Kids Cut CaloriesAsthma Inhalers Incorrectly Used by Most Kids in StudyNewer Diabetes Drug Shows Promise in Kids, TeensBenlysta Approved for Children With LupusParents, Protect Your Kids as Measles Outbreaks SpreadHow Much Does Your Kid Weigh? Chances Are, You're UnderestimatingFor Kids, Obesity and Mental Health Woes Often Go Hand-in-HandWhy Kids Should Play More Than One SportBetter Food Assistance Programs Might Lower Childhood Obesity RatesMany U.S. Kids Don't Drink Enough Water, and Obesity May Be the ResultStrict Blood Pressure Limits for Kids Tied to Heart Health LaterAlmost Half of Young Asthma Patients Misuse InhalersCan Games and Apps Help Your Kids Learn?Kids Can Get UTIs, TooInactive Lifestyle Begins as Early as Age 7: StudyWhy the HPV Vaccine Is More Important Than EverMore Time Spent in Sports, Faster Healing From ConcussionHow to Cut Your Kids' Sugar IntakeLiving Near Major Roads Can Slow Kids' Development: StudySuicidal Behavior Nearly Doubles Among U.S. Kids
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

Many Kids With Chronic Illness Are Still Happy: Study

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 6th 2019

new article illustration

MONDAY, May 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many children deal with chronic health issues -- but it doesn't mean they can't enjoy life as much as other kids, a new study finds.

Researchers found that among more than 1,200 5- to 9-year-olds, those with some of the most common childhood ills were no less happy with their lives than other kids.

They said the findings highlight an important point: Kids aren't "defined" by their medical issues.

"This can help broaden our perspective of what 'health' is," said lead researcher Courtney Blackwell, a research assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

"Just because a child has a medical condition," she said, "that doesn't mean they're 'unhealthy.' "

The caveat, Blackwell said, is that the study focused on kids with certain common conditions, such as asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and digestive disorders.

It did not include kids with more debilitating diseases that require intense care.

If it had, the findings would probably be different, according to Rose Alvarez-Salvat, a child psychologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami. She was not involved with the research, but reviewed the study.

Alvarez-Salvat works with kids who have medical conditions like type 1 diabetes, cystic fibrosis, cancer and hemophilia. Those complex disorders, which require daily management, can lead to anxiety and depression for some kids, she said.

"They have a very different experience from children with less complicated conditions," Alvarez-Salvat said.

Plus, she noted, this study focused on 5- to 9-year-olds, and quality-of-life issues might only become apparent when kids are a bit older. That's when they take more control over managing their health condition -- and may be more self-conscious about being "different" from their peers.

That's not to say there's no positive message here, Alvarez-Salvat said.

"These days, having a medical condition can just be part of someone's life, and not necessarily have the impact that it did years ago," she said.

The results, published online May 6 in Pediatrics, are based on reports from parents of 1,253 U.S. youngsters. Overall, 20% had at least one of the conditions researchers considered -- including asthma, respiratory allergies and eczema, epilepsy, digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and depression or anxiety. Obesity and low birthweight were also included.

Parents responded to a standard questionnaire gauging their children's life satisfaction. On average, there was no difference between the group of kids with health conditions and those without.

Since kids with health issues were grouped together in the study, it's not clear whether any particular condition had a bigger impact on life satisfaction than others, Blackwell said.

But regardless of kids' health, two factors did stand out when it came to their happiness: family income (higher meant happier kids) and the amount of stress kids felt (more stress, less happy).

Stress levels were derived from parents' answers to questions about whether their child ever felt overwhelmed by day-to-day problems.

It all suggests that making the home environment less stressful will "trickle down" to kids, including those with chronic health conditions, according to Alvarez-Salvat.

She said the income findings highlight another point: Health problems typically take a bigger toll on kids in low-income and minority families. The majority of the families in this study were white, she pointed out.

If parents do feel a health issue is affecting their child's overall well-being, they should ask for help, Blackwell said.

Doctors, she noted, may often be focused on treating the condition itself. But parents should also feel they can bring up their child's mental and emotional well-being, too, Blackwell said.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has resources for helping kids deal with chronic health conditions.