Article Text


Chronic disease
P2-30 Chronic illness and subjective well-being of family members
  1. C Booker,
  2. A Sacker
  1. University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, UK


Background The hedonic definition of subjective well-being includes subjective perceptions of moods such as happiness and cognitive judgements of life satisfaction coupled with an absence of negative feelings. Little is known about levels of well-being in the context of adaptation to chronic illness. This paper will explore the impact of chronic illness on the well-being of family members.

Methods Data come from wave 1 of Understanding Society, a new longitudinal UK-representative household panel survey. Subjective well-being of adults (16 years) was measured using the GHQ-12, the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale and a question on life satisfaction. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire measured well-being in youth (aged 10–15 years). Self-reported long-term limiting illness (LLTI) was used to indicate chronic illness. Latent variable models were used to explore associations between partners (N=4167) and among family members (n=3056).

Results LLTI in one member of a cohabiting partnership was negatively associated not only with their own well-being but also that of their partner. There were no differences by gender. The association between a parent's LLTI and their adult child's well-being was not significant, regardless of the gender of the parent. There was a significant association between mother's LLTI and SDQ total difficulties score for younger children; however no association was observed for father's Illness.

Conclusions There are associations between one's own illness on both themselves and their partners. A parent's LLTI was not associated with worse well-being in adult children but was associated with increased difficulties in their younger children.

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