Many studies report that couples with children who have chronic health conditions have more marital dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms than other parents. However, much of the research is cross-sectional and uses maternal reports. This study addresses prior limitations in the research by using longitudinal data from both parents. Couples who are parents to 173 children with chronic conditions were studied. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used with a longitudinal data set. Results indicated that relative decreases in mothers' marital satisfaction were influenced by their perceptions of the impact of their child's condition. Also, the severity of the condition influenced relative decreases in mothers' marital satisfaction and relative increases in depressive symptoms. For fathers, only their previous self-reports of depressive symptoms and marital satisfaction influenced relative increases in depressive symptoms and relative decreases in marital satisfaction.
- Chronically ill children
- Couples' adjustment to child chronic illness
- Marital satisfaction
- Mental health
- Parents' perceptions of child chronic illness