Coping strategies in families of children with sickle cell disease.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of family environment, morbidity, and socioeconomic status (SES) on coping strategies in families of children with sickle cell disease. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study. METHODS: The study sample consisted of 40 mothers, 24 fathers, 40 patients, and 28 healthy siblings from 40 African-American families, each of which had only one child with sickle cell disease. Data were collected through the use of structured interviews utilizing a demographic questionnaire, the Family Environment Scale (FES), and the COPE. RESULTS: The results indicate that support-seeking coping strategies were employed more often by mothers in more cohesive families and siblings in less cohesive families, while increased growth (resilience) was experienced by siblings in less conflicted families. Patients in more religious families reported greater use of religion as a means of coping. Mothers of mildly affected patients used acceptance more frequently than those of severely affected patients, and fathers of severely affected patients more often sought emotional support. Mothers, fathers, and siblings in low SES families reported greater use of denial than did those in high SES families. CONCLUSION: Additional psychosocial research involving families (including fathers and siblings) dealing with sickle cell disease is needed to facilitate the utilization of adaptive coping strategies, thereby enhancing individual and family adjustment.
Royal, CD; Headings, VE; Harrell, JP; Ampy, FR; Hall, GW
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