The relationship between child- and adolescent-onset chronic medical illness, family connectedness, and transition to adulthood: A longitudinal analysis

Bradley Jerson, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between childhood physical disorders (CPD) and family connectedness, and their contributions to an individual's transition to adulthood. The National Study of Longitudinal Health (Add Health) was used to assess both individuals with CPD and a group of healthy matched control members across multiple data collection points between 13 and 32 years old. ^ The CPD group had poorer outcomes in education, economic/vocational, and relational domains than did the healthy matched control group. They also experienced greater struggles during the developmentally crucial transition from adolescence to adulthood. Higher family connectedness during adolescence was related to more educational gains during this transition for individuals with a prior history of CPD. Variations of connectedness within the CPD group did not contribute significantly to differences in economic/vocational and relational outcomes. ^ Although the present study has limitations (e.g., secondary data analysis, limited available information on disease severity), it also has many strengths. Specifically, this was the first study of its kind to assess the role of CPD within a large longitudinal design as it pertained to transition to adulthood. Additionally, the large sample size allowed for greater interpretability and use of a demographically specific matched control group. ^ Overall, the present study suggests a relationship between prior CPD and subsequent developmental disruption during the transition to adulthood. Future research is needed to further elucidate the specific protective mechanisms within family connectedness that have been demonstrated in prior smaller-scale studies. The present study provides additional support for the recent emphasis on the importance of transition planning for individuals with CPD, specifically with regard to educational, economic/vocational, and relational/social functioning. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Jerson, Bradley, "The relationship between child- and adolescent-onset chronic medical illness, family connectedness, and transition to adulthood: A longitudinal analysis" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3643073.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3643073

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