Emotional responses of children and adolescents to parents with multiple sclerosis

Rivka Yahav, Janine Vosburgh, Ariel Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of a chronic illness of one parent on children is determined by a complicated interaction of various emotional components. Our focus was on the children's and adolescent's emotional reactions and feelings towards their multiple sclerosis (MS)-affected parents, including: degree of responsibility, obligation and concern, yielding behaviour and active protection, fear and anxiety related to the state of illness, their sense of burden in connection with household tasks and errands, and anger. Fihy-six children, ages 10-18, each having a parent with MS, were examined. The results were compared to a control group of 156 age-matched children with healthy parents. Feelings were examined by means of a questionnaire previously constructed by us. We found that children of parents with MS felt more responsibility and obligation than children of healthy parents. They also exhibited more yielding behaviour more fear and anxiety related to states of illness, a greater sense of burden and a greater degree of anger. We consider the interaction between the sex of the parent and the sex of the child in connection with these feelings and discuss the implications of the 'parental child' role of these children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-468
Number of pages5
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Anxiety
  • Burden
  • Children
  • Family
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Responsibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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