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Educational and psychological effects of childhood chronic illnesses Martinez, Yvonne Julia

Abstract

The numbers of children affected by a chronic physical illness have steadily increased over the last few decades with current prevalence estimates at as many as 20% of school-aged children affected. For children with a chronic illness, the prevalence of educational and psychological problems is nearly doubled in comparison to the general population. The purpose of this research is to investigate the educational and psychological effects of childhood chronic illness among Canadian children. This project will be a retrospective analysis using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), taking a cross-sectional look at the relationships between childhood chronic illnesses, performance on a Mathematics Computation Exercise (MCE), and ratings on an Emotional Disorder - Anxiety scale (EDA). A total of 1,644 children (ages 10-15) across Canada were included in the analyses. The results showed that when EDA ratings and educational handicaps were controlled for, children identified with chronic illnesses still have weaker performance on the MCE test. However, illness did not appear to have an impact on children's EDA ratings. The regression analysis indicated that community type and illness were the strongest predictors of MCE scores. Limitations of the study are discussed, and implications of the findings and directions for future research are highlighted.

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