Neuza Silva, C. Crespo, M. C. Canavarro
Feb 1, 2014
Journal of Child and Family Studies
The particular challenges posed by pediatric asthma may have a negative impact on the adaptation of children and their parents. From a transactional approach it is important to examine how reciprocal links between children and parents contribute to explain their adaptation and under which conditions these associations occur. This cross-sectional study aimed at examining the direct and indirect links between children’s and parents’ perceptions of family relationships and adaptation, separately (within-subjects) and across participants (cross-lagged effects), and the role of asthma severity in moderating these associations. The sample comprised 257 children with asthma, aged between 8 and 18 years-old, and one of their parents. Both family members completed self-reported questionnaires on family relationships (cohesion and expressiveness) and adaptation indicators (quality of life and psychological functioning). Physicians assessed asthma severity. Structural Equation Modeling was used to test within-subjects and cross-lagged paths between children’s and parents’ family relationships and adaptation. The model explained 47 % of children’s and 30 % of parents’ adaptation: family relationships were positively associated with adaptation, directly for children and parents, and indirectly across family members. Asthma severity moderated the association between family relationships and health-related quality of life for children: stronger associations were observed in the presence of persistent asthma. These results highlight the need of including psychological interventions in pediatric healthcare focused on family relationships as potential targets for improving children’s and parents’ quality of life and psychological functioning, and identified the children with persistent asthma as a group that would most benefit from family-based interventions.