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Health Educ Res. 2014 Oct;29(5):764-72. doi: 10.1093/her/cyu040. Epub 2014 Jul 4.

From controlling to letting go: what are the psychosocial needs of parents of adolescents with a chronic illness?

Author information

1
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital, Route de la Corniche 10, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland Christina.Akre@chuv.ch.
2
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital, Route de la Corniche 10, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

While one of the main objectives of adolescence is to achieve autonomy, for the specific population of adolescents with a chronic illness (CI), the struggle for autonomy is accentuated by the limits implied by their illness. However, little is known concerning the way their parents manage and cope with their children's autonomy acquisition. Our aim was to identify the needs and preoccupations of parents of adolescents with CI in coping with their children's autonomy acquisition and to determine whether mothers and fathers coped differently. Using a qualitative approach, 30 parents of adolescents with CI participated in five focus groups. Recruitment took place in five specialized pediatric clinics from our university hospital. Thematic analysis was conducted. Transcript analyses suggested four major categories of preoccupations, those regarding autonomy acquisition, giving or taking on autonomy, shared management of treatment and child's future. Some aspects implied differences between mothers' and fathers' viewpoints and ways of experiencing this period of life. Letting go can be hard for the father, mother, adolescent or all three. Helping one or the other can in turn improve family functioning as a whole. Reported findings may help health professionals better assist parents in managing their child's acquisition of autonomy.

PMID:
24997206
DOI:
10.1093/her/cyu040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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