Children's perceptions of parental multiple sclerosis

T. Cross, D. Rintell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7-to-14-year-old children of parents with multiple sclerosis (MS; N = 21) to examine children's perceptions of MS, and a content analysis was conducted. Children observed visible and 'invisible' symptoms and affective distress. Few children had information about the physiological process of MS. The most frequent categories of casual beliefs were fate or chance, contagion and congenital/hereditary factors. Many children mentioned their own and other peoples behaviour as influences on the course of MS. No children believed that parents' MS would get worse. Children need developmentally appropriate information, reassurance about their effect on parents and their own risk of contracting MS, and discussion of the stress on the family. The study suggests the value of psycho-educational intervention for many families with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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