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The experience of fathers and mothers whose children have health problems: current state of knowledge

Diane Pelchat, Hélène Lefebvre, Marie Josée Levert

The birth of a child is a transitional event that creates stress within the family and calls for the implementation of adaptative strategies that gradually allow the stakeholders to readjust both with regard to themselves and to their partner and to create room for the presence of the new being. If the child is sickly, the amount of stress suffered by the parents will be proportionately greater. Research has demonstrated that faced with a problem of child sickness, mother and father do not react in the same way. The intention of the present paper is to report on the current level of knowledge concerning the way fathers and mothers experience their child’s health issues and to suggest new directions for research that will allow us to better understand their experience.