Parental Influence on Children Coping with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a chronic illness that disproportionately affects African Americans in the U.S. at a rate of 1 to 500. Proper management of this blood disorder is key in ensuring that those affected lead productive lives with as few life-disrupting symptoms as possible. Research suggests that the ability to cope with a chronic disease can affect disease outcome. When it comes to children dealing with SCD, parents play an integral role in ensuring that their children learn the proper coping skills to manage their illness. This study sought to find out if parent’s ability to cope with stress related to SCD affected their child’s ability to cope with stress related to SCD. It was predicted that the parents’ coping style would be positively and significantly associated with their child’s coping. The Response to Stress Questionnaire (RSQ; Connor-Smith, Compas, Wadsworth, Thomsen, and Saltman (2000)) was used to measure level of coping for both parent and child, and the Sickle Cell Pain Index (Walker, et al., 2001) was used to measure child pain. Our hypothesis was supported in that parent level of coping did have an effect on their child’s coping. For example, high levels of parent avoidance, denial, wishful thinking, and distraction related to SCD stress was associated with the increase in frequency of their child’s pain. Also, the less parents used coping strategies such as denial, avoidance, and rumination as coping mechanisms, the more children engaged in coping strategies such as positive thinking, acceptance, and cognitive.