Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Parents and Families of Youth with Chronic Medical Conditions

Editors: Emily F. Law, Ph.D.; Emma Fisher, Ph.D.

Date: July, 2019

Empirical review statusInsufficient Evidence: Existing meta-analyses are not of sufficient quality.

Summary of sample characteristics across studies:

Variable

Example

Child Age

Across trials, there was variability in the age range of children:

  1. Toddler to Adolescence (0-14 years) (Seid et al., 2010)
  1. Elementary to Adolescence (5-16 years) (Nansel et al., 2012; Wade et al., 2005; Wade et al., 2006)
  1. Adolescence (11-18 years) (Sahler et al., 2013; Wade et al., 2011)

Child Sex

All trials enrolled both male and female children

Parent Sex

Three studies enrolled only mothers (Sahler et al., 2002; Sahler et al., 2005; Sahler et al., 2013). The remaining studies enrolled >90% mothers (e.g., Seid et al., 2010; Wade et al., 2005).

Family Ethnicity/Race

The majority of trials enrolled primarily Caucasian/Non-Hispanic families. In two trials, participants were primarily Hispanic (Sahler et al., 2013; Seid et al., 2010).

Therapist type

In the majority of trials, treatment was delivered by master’s level therapists or Ph.D. students.

Presenting problem

  1. Asthma: Seid et al., 2010
  2. Cancer: Sahler et al., 2002; Sahler et al., 2005; Sahler et al., 2013
  3. Diabetes: Nansel et al., 2012
  4. Heart Disease: McCusker et al., 2010
  5. Traumatic Brain Injury: Wade et al., 2005; Wade et al., 2006; Wade et al., 2011

Socioeconomic status

In the majority of trials, average socioeconomic status of families was middle to upper class. In a few trials, families were from predominantly lower socioeconomic backgrounds (e.g., Nansel et al., 2012; Sahler et al., 2013; Seid et al., 2010)

Language

In two trials, the intervention was delivered in English and Spanish (Sahler et al., 2005; Sahler et al., 2013; Seid et al., 2010). In all other trials the intervention was delivered in English.

 

Brief summary of treatment:

  • Basic premise: Adaptation to the child’s chronic medical condition is influenced by the interaction between social/environmental, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional factors.
  • Essence of therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy includes a range of techniques that promote identifying, challenging and modifying maladaptive or negative thoughts and behaviors that interfere with adjustment to and management of the child’s medical condition.
  • Length: Treatment duration for children: 0-12 hours. Treatment duration for parents: 2-16 hours.

 

Treatment resources:

Treatment Manual Available For Purchase
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain in Children and Adolescents (Palermo, 2012)

Self-Help Books
Managing Your Child’s Chronic Pain (Palermo & Law, 2015)
When Your Child Hurts: Effective Strategies to Increase Comfort, Reduce Stress, and Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain (Coakley, 2016)

Worksheets/Handouts
See Worksheets/Handouts in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain in Children and Adolescents (Palermo, 2012)

 

Key review articles

  1. Law, E., Fisher, E., Eccleston, C., & Palermo, T. M. (2019). Psychological interventions for parents of children and adolescents with chronic illness. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 3, CD009660.
  2. Law, E.F., Fisher, E., Fales, J., Noel, M., & Eccleston, C. (2014). Systematic review and meta-analysis of parent and family-based interventions for children and adolescents with chronic medical conditions. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 39(8), 866-886.
  3. Sansom-Daly, U. M., Peate, M., Wakefield, C. E., Bryant, R. A., & Cohn, R. J. (2012). A systematic review of psychological interventions for adolescents and young adults living with chronic illness. Health Psychology, 31(3), 380.

 

Click here for additional Clinical Trials, Systematic Reviews, and Meta-Analyses.

Related Resources