JPP Special Issue on Peer Relations in Youth with Chronic Illness

Editors: Vicki S. Helgeson, PhD (guest) and Grayson N. Holmbeck, PhD

Researchers have recognized the importance of the social environment in adjustment to chronic illness among youth with a variety of health conditions, but the vast majority of this research has focused on the family. The peer social environment is a second important social context for youth, and one that takes on increasing importance during the adolescent period of development. Despite the fact that researchers recognize the importance of peer relations to the development of children and adolescents, little research in the area of chronic illness has focused on peer relations. Among the studies that do exist, research has found that supportive peer relations have implications for quality of life and physical health. Even less research has focused on the unsupportive or conflictive aspects of peer relations, but those that do find strong connections to psychological distress, poor adherence, and impaired physical health. The mechanisms for these associations have not been well articulated theoretically or examined empirically.


The aim of this special issue is to highlight studies that examine implications of peer relations for the well-being of youth with chronic illness. We construe well-being broadly, including quality of life, psychological distress, psychological growth, adherence, risk behavior, and physical health. Studies may focus on children, adolescents, and/or emerging adults. Priority will be given to studies that use innovative research designs that move beyond cross-sectional data and that identify mechanisms by which peer relations are connected to health. The use of multiple methods (e.g., qualitative and quantitative; self-report and direct observation), the use of multiple informants (e.g., youth and parent or peer), or a focus on multiple contexts (e.g., peer and family contexts or peer and school contexts) are strongly encouraged. Intervention studies are also welcomed.

Papers should be prepared in compliance with JPP 's Instructions to Authors and submitted through the ScholarOne Manuscript Central™ submission portal. Manuscripts will be peer reviewed. Papers that are not appropriate for inclusion in this special issue may be rerouted (with the authors' knowledge and consent) for consideration for publication in JPP as regular papers. Please indicate in the cover letter accompanying your manuscript that you would like to have the paper considered for the Special Issue on Peer Relations in Youth with Chronic Illness

Submissions for this special issue will be accepted until March 1, 2014.

Please direct all inquiries to Vicki S. Helgeson or Grayson Holmbeck.