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July 2001

To Help or Not to Help . . . That Is the Question

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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(7):763-764. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.7.763

ALMOST 3 DECADES have passed since Pless and Satterwhite1 presented the first data in support of providing parent-to-parent assistance to families with children who had chronic physical health conditions. They showed that veteran parents who received minimal training could act as family counselors and provide tangible help and emotional support to mothers of children with chronic conditions, and that this assistance resulted in measurable improvements in the children's psychological adjustment. The intervention was based on the premise that families in which a child has a chronic condition face problems that approach the boundary of medical care. The investigators proposed that many nontechnical health care needs could be met by nonprofessionals. They believed that the family counselors relied chiefly on their personal compassion, listening skills, and problem-solving abilities.

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