Parental Chronic Illness: Current Limitations and Considerations for Future Research

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J.W. Anderson
Caitlin A. Huth
Susan A. Garcia
Jennifer Swezey


family, chronic, illness


For the past fifty years, researchers investigating the impact of parental chronic illness or disability on the family have consistently noted the limited work in this area. Citations spanning several decades are included here to deliberately underscore this fact. The purpose of this article is to highlight this ongoing limitation, as well as a number of ongoing points of disagreement. To this end, issues of insufficient research, contested methodologies, assumptions of pathology, and the divided nature of existing research will be presented. Concerning the latter, for years, studies have appeared in two contradictory perspectives: those which view the families and children of chronically ill parents as at risk, and those who find these families and children developing normally despite profound, atypical stressors. These points seem mutually exclusive, but with current research it is difficult to determine how or where these distinctions occur.

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