As normal a life as possible: mothers and their daughters with congenital heart disease

Health Care Women Int. Jul-Aug 2002;23(5):481-91. doi: 10.1080/073993302760190083.


In this study, I used a qualitative descriptive methodology to examine the effect of chronic illness on the mother-daughter relationship. Many studies have examined the effects of the child's illness on the mother-child relationship when the child is very young, but few have looked at the ongoing problems that chronic illness may cause. Eleven mothers and 11 daughters were interviewed. Normalizing in the face of chronic illness was the overriding theme of the study. Two subthemes related to normalizing arose from the data. "It's no big deal" was found to best describe how most mothers and their daughters with heart disease viewed their lives and relationships. One other subtheme, "Sometimes it's a very big deal," was described by those mothers and daughters who could not, due to ongoing health problems, normalize their lives. Relationships with family as well as age, severity of illness, and developmental stage, were seen as mediators of normalizing in the lives of the participants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Quality of Life
  • United States
  • Women's Health