Psychological aspects in children and adolescents with congenital heart disease and their parents
The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of psychosocial aspects of living with a congenital heart disease (ConHD) for children and also for their parents. The presence of a cardiac defect makes the parent–child relationship more vulnerable. Protective factors to enhance this relationship are described, in order to positively influence the child’s emotional development. The literature clearly shows that children and adolescents with ConHD are at risk for behavioral/emotional problems, a reduced health-related quality of life, intellectual and school problems, and poorer motor function compared to healthy peers. For adolescents, the transition from the pediatric service to an adult department of cardiology is especially challenging. For the problem areas mentioned above, clinical recommendations are given, for different developmental phases, and interventions for preparing children and adolescents for invasive cardiac procedures and psychotherapeutic tools are briefly described. Finally a clinical case is presented, illustrating psychosocial problems in an adolescent female with ConHD.