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June 1957

Parents' Emotional Response to Child's Hospitalization

Author Affiliations

San Francisco
From the Pediatric Mental Health Unit, University of California Medical Center.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1957;93(6):629-637. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1957.02060040631005

A number of studies1-3,5 have emphasized the need for programs of hospital care to take into treatment consideration the interdependence of the child's psyche and soma in the promotion of recovery and prevention of unnecessary physical and mental sequelae. In addition, there are data6,7,9 to confirm the vital need of a supportive parent-child relationship, not only to promote healthy growth and development of the child but also to sustain the child during times of great stress—as in the experience of illness and hospitalization.

When a child becomes ill, a change usually takes place in the parent-child relationship.4,8 The parents become more protective and indulgent; the child, at the same time, becomes more dependent on his parents and more demanding of their presence and attention. If the illness necessitates hospitalization, this entails separation of parent and child and relinquishment of the child's care, usually to strange physicians and

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