Efficacy of Psychosocial Group Intervention for Children With Chronic Illness and Their Parents

Linde Scholten, Agnes M. Willemen, Bob F. Last, Heleen Maurice-Stam, Elisabeth M. van Dijk, Elske Ensink, Noortje Zandbelt, Aafke van der Hoop-Mooij, Carlo Schuengel, Martha A. Grootenhuis, E.M. van Dijk-Lokkart

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral group intervention for children with chronic illnesses and to test the effect of an added parent component. METHODS: Children (n = 194) and their parents participated in a multi-center randomized clinical trial comparing a child-only intervention and a parent-child intervention to a wait-list control group. Primary outcomes were parent-and self-reported internalizing and externalizing problems; secondary outcomes were child disease-related coping skills (information seeking, relaxation, social competence, medical compliance, and positive thinking). Assessments took place at baseline and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Intention-to-treat mixed-model analyses were performed to test the difference in change in outcomes. RESULTS: The intervention had a positive effect on changes in parent-reported internalizing problems, child-reported externalizing problems, information seeking, social competence, and positive thinking. The additional effect of parental involvement was observed on parent-reported internalizing problems, child-reported externalizing problems, information seeking, and social competence. Illness severity and illness type did not moderate the effects. There were no intervention effects on child-reported internalizing problems, parent-reported externalizing problems, relaxation, or medical compliance. Of the families in the wait-list control group, 74% sought alternative psychological support during the intervention period. CONCLUSIONS: This RCT supports the efficacy of a protocol-based group intervention for children with chronic illnesses and their parents. Adding a parental component to the intervention contributed to the persistence of the effects. Future research should focus on moderating and mediating effects of the intervention. Pediatrics 2013; 131: e1196-e1203
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1196-E1203
JournalPediatrics
Volume131
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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