Social Support in Families of Children with Chronic Conditions: Supportive and Nonsupportive Behaviors

Joan M. Patterson, Ann W. Garwick, Forrest C. Bennett, Robert W. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We questioned parents of 182 young children with a variety of chronic health conditions concerning the amount of emotional, informational, and tangible social support they received from the family, community, and service providers. We also asked parents to describe nonsupportive or hurtful behaviors received from family or community members. Both mothers and fathers reported that family members provided the most emotional and tangible social support and service providers the most informational support. The amount of perceived support from all sources increased over time, but 78% of mothers and 60% of fathers reported at least one instance of nonsupport from these same sources, primarily from extended family members and health professionals. We encourage health professionals to show respect and to provide timely, accurate information in a sensitive manner to parents whose child has a chronic health condition and to assist parents in handling nonsupportive behaviors from family and friends. J Dev Behav Pediatr 18:383-391, 1997.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-391
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic illness
  • Disability
  • Psychosocial impact
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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