Being sick is a normal part of childhood, and being seriously ill is the unfortunate lot of many children. Every child in the United States has some contact with the healthcare system at some time, and it is estimated that one of every two children or adolescents is hospitalized as a result of illness or injury. Being injured, undergoing routine medical procedures, getting sick, or being hospitalized confront children with challenges on many levels--physical, mental, emotional, and social.
The premise of this volume is that developmental and psychological factors are central elements in many current problems in child health such as persistent crying in infants, sources of children's injury and respiratory illness, children's coping with medical procedures, childhood trauma, and physical and mental well-being in adolescence. Understanding, promoting, and maintaining children's health, therefore, depend to a great extent--and are likely to depend even more in the future--on elucidating the determinants and consequences of children's and parents' health-related behaviors and attitudes.
Chapter contributors include physicians and psychologists who apply principles of developmental and social psychology to their research on specific problems in children's health. Their offerings delineate current areas of collaboration between developmental psychology and behavioral pediatrics. These perspectives should prompt researchers and practitioners to explore additional ways in which more extensive endeavors at the interface of these two disciplines will facilitate efforts to understand children's health behaviors and foster children's well-being. Attention to this work should lead to more direct clinical applicability and translation for preventive policy strategies as well as therapeutic interventions.