Psychological adjustment to pediatric physical disorders: a meta-analytic review

J Pediatr Psychol. 1992 Apr;17(2):133-57. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/17.2.133.


Reviewed 87 studies of children's adjustment to physical disorders in a meta-analysis. Results indicate (a) children with such disorders show increased risk for overall adjustment problems, internalizing and externalizing symptoms; (b) risk was greatest in studies making comparisons to norms rather than to study controls; (c) risk varied by informant (teacher, mental health professional, parent), and by degree of matching with controls; (d) the self-concept of children with physical disorders across all studies appears significant for studies with careful matching or comparisons with norms; (e) there are interdisease differences, but the number of studies within individual disorders, with a few exceptions, are quite small. The need for improved methodology is discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Self Concept