Coping with chronic disease from the perspective of children and adolescents--a conceptual framework and its implications for participation

Child Care Health Dev. 2003 Jan;29(1):63-75. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2214.2003.00309.x.


In medical and health psychology, efforts have increasingly been made to assess coping of children and adolescents with chronic conditions. In contrast to the study of coping in adults, approaches to define and assess adaptational processes in children pose a number of problems because coping and development are inherently connected with each other. Issues arising when applying theoretical concepts from developmental psychology to the area of coping in children and adolescents are highlighted. The most prominent approaches to conceptualize and assess coping with chronic disease in childhood and adolescence are illustrated. In future research, there is a need to focus the situational context and content of coping rather than to assess the effort employed and level of a particular coping strategy. Coping is not only a way of regulating emotions, but has an interpersonal meaning, depending on its interactional context. In the medical field, coping has a mediating function for participation and shared medical decision-making in health care processes.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Research
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology