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Children's perceptions of chronically ill peers: An investigation of salient illness characteristics and social context

Anita Lynn Bukowski Ebert, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Investigated the attitudes and social preferences of 224 healthy children toward chronically ill same-sex peers. Participants were from two age groups: preadolescent (n = 100; 39 males, 61 females) and adolescent (n = 124; 62 males, 62 females). Illustrated story books were used to depict three hypothetical youth: a healthy child and two chronically ill youth described in a noncategorical manner (i.e., child with physical activity and participation limitations, child described as excessively thin and short of stature). Chronically ill youth also were described as having general illness characteristics (e.g., frequent doctor visits and school absences, dietary limitations). Attitudes and preference rankings were examined in relation to participants' age, gender, and various social contexts. Results indicated that despite high familiarity with persons who were chronically ill, participants had less positive attitudes toward the chronically ill peers in comparison to the healthy child. Results also indicated that rank order preferences varied according to social context and characteristics of chronic illness demonstrated by the ill youth. Age and gender effects also were found across attitudinal and rank order data. Results of this investigation suggest that chronically ill youth are perceived less positively by their peers in comparison to healthy youth; however, healthy children's perceptions vary depending on their age and gender as well as the type of social context in which the interaction with the chronically ill youth occurs and the characteristics of chronic illness demonstrated by the ill child. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Bukowski Ebert, Anita Lynn, "Children's perceptions of chronically ill peers: An investigation of salient illness characteristics and social context" (1999). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9942116.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI9942116

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