Relationship Between Infant Illness and Family Function

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

It is by now established that an undeniable relationship exists between the family unit and manifestation of disease symptoms. Families exhibit characteristic patterns of morbidity, transmission, susceptibility to infectious agents, and utilization of medical services. Some families have a high frequency of disease, while others over the course of time experience relatively little disease. A family system may influence the course and outcome of disease; it may constitute the conditions sufficient to precipitate illness; or it may act as a predisposing influence.

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