Peer relationships and emotional well-being of youngsters with sickle cell disease

Child Dev. 1996 Apr;67(2):423-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1996.tb01743.x.


Comparisons with measures of peer relationships and emotional well-being were made between youngsters with sickle cell disease (SCD) and same-classroom comparison peers. Relative to the comparison subjects, females with SCD were perceived by peers as being less sociable and less well accepted; males with SCD were perceived as being less aggressive than comparison peers. For both males and females with SCD, no other differences were identified on numerous measures of emotional well-being. None of the multiple measures of illness severity were significantly related to measures of psychological adjustment. The common side effects of SCD, chronic fatigue and small physical size, may divert males with the illness from manifesting difficulties related to aggressive behavior with peers. For females with the illness, the common side effects of the illness may hinder the development of normal social relationships. Despite chronic exposure to numerous stressful life events associated with SCD, the youngsters with the illness were remarkably similar to comparison peers, showing evidence of considerable hardiness.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires