Chronic Illness and Anxiety in Children

  • Laura Nabors
Part of the Springer Series on Child and Family Studies book series (SSCFS)


Children with chronic illnesses may experience internalizing problems, such as anxiety. Distraction (through imagery and play) and relaxation may be powerful strategies for children facing medical procedures. Parents can be coaches for their child, teaching anxiety management strategies. This can provide parents with a role in the child’s positive functioning so that they feel they are helping their children. Having a role can reduce parent anxiety and increase their support of the child, and both of these actions can reduce child anxiety. Moreover, parents who have a role can teach the child to cope, and reduce chances of unexpectedly reinforcing or accommodating a child’s anxiety responses. Research in the field supports the use of cognitive-behavioral strategies to reduce anxiety for children who have different types of illnesses. Strategies include distraction (games, toys, music), relaxation, social support, and imagery.


Chronic illnesses SCARED Somatic complaints Coping menu Personalizing strategies Relaxation Breathing Imagery 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Nabors
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human ServicesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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