New ECHO-funded Research Shows Chronic Illnesses in Children Do Not Necessarily Lead to Dissatisfaction

The ECHO researchers’ findings suggest that children with chronic illnesses are just as happy as their peers who do not have chronic illnesses.

The May 2019 issue of Pediatrics published findings from a recent study by ECHO researchers Courtney Blackwell, Amy Elliott, Jody Ganiban, Julie Herbstman, Kelly Hunt, Chris Forrest, and Carlos Camargo. The publication, titled “General Health and Life Satisfaction in Children With Chronic Illness,” focuses on children’s general health and life satisfaction in the context of chronic illness.

The study found that while children with chronic illnesses have worse health overall, their life satisfaction was comparable with that of their peers without chronic illnesses, suggesting that children with chronic illnesses may still lead happy lives.

As reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the authors noted, “the current study suggests that having a chronic illness is certainly a health challenge (evidenced by lower parent-reported general health) but does not preclude these children from having happy and satisfying lives that are comparable with those of peers without illness.”

This multi-cohort study evaluated results from questionnaires completed by 1113 caregivers completed on behalf of 1253 children aged 5-9 years with illnesses such as asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and digestive disorders. The study used the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Parent-Proxy measures for Global Health and Life Satisfaction.

Consistent with one of the primary goals of ECHO to leverage existing cohorts through harmonization of extant data and standardization of newly collected data, this study evaluated data from existing cohorts associated with the ECHO Program, with a specific focus on ECHO’s Positive Health outcome area.

“Overall, this work highlights clinical opportunities to broaden the perspective of health beyond the absence of disease to one in which all children, regardless of illness or impairment, can have well-being,” the authors said.

Read the full article to learn more.

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Link to AAP story