Emotional well-being among adolescents with and without chronic conditions

Clara Wolman, Michael D. Resnick, Linda J. Harris, Robert Wm Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate whether adolescents with chronic conditions differ from adolescents without chronic conditions in several psychological outcomes. An additional purpose was to explore whether adolescents with chronic conditions differ as a function of the visibility of their conditions. Methods: By means of the Adolescent Health Survey, 1683 students (grades 7-12) with a variety of chronic conditions were compared with 1650 students without chronic conditions in regard to emotional well-being, worries and concerns, and body image. Differences in emotional well-being were examined as a function of perception of family connectedness. Comparisons were also made between adolescents with visible and invisible conditions. Results: Adolescents with chronic conditions had lower emotional well-being scores, worried more about dying soon and about school or future work, and had poorer body image. For students with and without chronic conditions, higher emotional well-being scores were significantly related to higher levels of family connectedness. The best explanatory variables of emotional well-being were body image, family connectedness, concerns about school and future work, having a disability, and worry about peer relationships, accounting together for 36% of the variance in the outcome variable. No differences were found between adolescents with visible and invisible conditions. Conclusions: Although adolescents with chronic conditions do less well than adolescents without chronic conditions, having a disability is not the most influential factor on emotional well-being. Family connectedness is of fundamental importance for adolescents' emotional health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents Emotional well-being Family connectedness Chronic conditions Visibility of conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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