The Developmental Challenges of Chronic Illness

Helping Patients and Families Cope
  • Susan H. McDaniel
  • Thomas L. Campbell
  • David B. Seaburn


Most families must face chronic illness in a family member at some time during the life cycle. Chronic illness is increasing in prevalence and has replaced acute illness as the major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States (1). Half of all people over age 65 and one fourth of those between ages 45 and 65 are limited in their activities by at least one chronic condition (2). As the elderly population grows, this burden of chronic illness increases, and families must play an even greater role in their care. (See Chapter 13 on caring for the elderly.) The experience of chronic illness affects families in profound ways, and how well the family adapts to chronic illness can influence the course of the illness (3). This chapter presents a comprehensive psychoeducational approach to working with families with chronic physical illness, to assess their needs and assist them in coping with illness. (Other chapters deal with family-oriented approach to chronic mental illness including depression, Chapter 17, and alcohol abuse, Chapter 18.)


Multiple Sclerosis Anorexia Nervosa Chronic Illness Chronic Mental Illness Developmental Challenge 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan H. McDaniel
    • 1
  • Thomas L. Campbell
    • 1
  • David B. Seaburn
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Medicine and Highland Hospital, Jacob B. Holler Family Medicine CenterUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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