Medical stress, appraised stress, and the psychological adjustment of mothers of children with myelomeningocele

William G. Kronenberger, Robert J. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This study investigated the relationship between medical severity, stress appraisals, and psychological symptoms in a representative sample of mothers of children with myelomeningocele. Although these mothers may be at risk for the development of depression and anxiety problems, substantial variability in their psychological adjustment exists, perhaps due to differences in illness severity and stress appraisals., A sample of 66 mothers answered several questionnaires, including the Stress Questionnaire and SCL-90-R. Medical indexes reflecting severity were obtained from medical charts. Correlational analyses indicated no relationship between medical indexes and maternal adjustment. Appraised illness stress was not related to medical indexes but was significantly related to adjustment. Regression analyses including demographic, medical, and appraised stress variables accounted for 32% of the variance in adjustment. The findings suggest the importance of cognitive appraisal of stress as opposed to objective medical severity in the explanation of maternal psychological adjustment to myelomeningocele.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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