Common psychology problems in cerebral palsy

Jackie Parkes, Chris McCusker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Cerebral palsy (CP) refers to a collection of motor impairments which result in abnormal posture and movement following an insult or damage to the developing brain. Psychological adjustment in children with CP is under researched with little population-based or longitudinal data, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that children with CP are at increased risk for psychological problems. The types of difficulties they experience include emotional, hyperactivity and peer problems with conduct disorder being more prevalent in mildly affected children. The origins of psychological problems in this group are complex but include ‘disease’ and ‘psychosocial’ factors related to having a brain-based disability in the family, as well as other factors that influence adjustment in all children. There are no intervention studies in children with CP aimed at preventing psychological problems or promoting mental wellbeing. However, evidence from other work suggests it is possible to work with the child and family to develop skills, manage symptoms, and build confidence and resilience. Acting as early as possible has been found to be beneficial for bonding, child development and reducing parental anxiety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-431
Number of pages5
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

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