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Year Degree Awarded
This nation's number one health problem for both children and adults is chronic illness (Travis, 1976). This is especially tragic in the case of children, seven to ten percent of whom are afflicted with one or more serious chronic illnesses of physical origins (Mattson, 1972; Travis, 1976). This figure represents an increase in recent years, in part because medical advances have changed many once fatal childhood illnesses to more longterm, chronic conditions. Moreover, due to improved methods of early diagnosis and treatment, more families are now living with chronically ill children, and for longer periods of time. Long term illness in a child is a significant stress on the family members: they must cope with the physical, financial, and psychological hardships of living with a very ill child (Drotar, 1978). For progressive illnesses, the family must watch the sick child slowly decline in health. Even if the child lives a relatively normal life span (with impaired physical functioning), the family may have to continually readjust to periods of acute exacerbations alternating with remissions (Mattson, 1972).