Parenting stress among caregivers of children with chronic illness: a systematic review

J Pediatr Psychol. 2013 Sep;38(8):809-28. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jst049. Epub 2013 Jul 10.


To critically review, analyze, and synthesize the literature on parenting stress among caregivers of children with asthma, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, epilepsy, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and/or sickle cell disease. Method PsychInfo, MEDLINE, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature were searched according to inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis of 13 studies and qualitative analysis of 96 studies was conducted. Results Caregivers of children with chronic illness reported significantly greater general parenting stress than caregivers of healthy children (d = .40; p = ≤.0001). Qualitative analysis revealed that greater general parenting stress was associated with greater parental responsibility for treatment management and was unrelated to illness duration and severity across illness populations. Greater parenting stress was associated with poorer psychological adjustment in caregivers and children with chronic illness. Conclusion Parenting stress is an important target for future intervention. General and illness-specific measures of parenting stress should be used in future studies.

Keywords: chronic illness; meta-analysis; parenting stress; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / nursing*
  • Humans
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*