Treatment adherence of youth and young adults with and without a chronic illness

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Journal Article
Nursing and Health Sciences, 2003, 5 (2), pp. 139 - 147
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The present study was undertaken to explore the psychosocial functioning of young people with chronic illness, their beliefs about treatment adherence, difficulties with adherence and concerns about living with their illness. A small correlational study was undertaken to compare the psychosocial functioning of young people, with and without chronic illness, aged between 12 and 24 years. Subjects were recruited from a metropolitan teaching hospital. Group 1 included 44 young people with chronic illness; Group 2 included 41 young people without chronic illness. Both groups were divided on the basis of age: younger (12-18 years, n = 24); older (19-24 years, n = 61) and sex (female = 43; male = 42). Subjects completed the Achenbach self-report questionnaire as a measure of psychosocial functioning, and a second questionnaire constructed for this study to explore treatment adherence. Psychosocial functioning scores were found to be similar on the majority of subscales. Young women with chronic illness were, however, found to have significantly higher internalizing scores than young women without chronic illness. A significant negative relationship was found for the chronic illness group between internalizing scores and treatment adherence. The findings highlight potential areas of difficulty in psychosocial functioning of some young people with chronic illness. They also suggest the existence of a subgroup of young people with chronic illness who experience more problems than their peers. More research is needed to generate evidence about this possible subgroup to determine predictors of psychosocial functioning and test the timing and efficacy of psychosocial interventions.
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