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J Pediatr Psychol. 2017 Nov 28. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx142. [Epub ahead of print]

Barriers to Transition From Pediatric to Adult Care: A Systematic Review.

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Auburn University.
University of Florida.



Transition research in each disease group is developing in its own "silo." A comprehensive review of barriers to transition within and across chronic illness groups is needed to facilitate information sharing and larger-scale efforts to overcome barriers and improve patient care. This study systematically reviews and identifies the barriers to transition from pediatric to adult care across pediatric illness populations.


Medline, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Social Services Abstracts, Web of Science, and the Cochrane library databases were searched. Peer-reviewed English articles presenting original data on barriers to transition to adult care, focused on a specific pediatric chronic illness population, and conducted in the United States were included. Study design, population, and barriers were extracted. Barriers were categorized according to the Socioecological Model of Adolescent/Young Adult Readiness to Transition. Articles were evaluated for study quality.


Fifty-seven articles were included. The most common barriers to transition fell within the "Relationships" domain (e.g., difficulties letting go of long-standing relationships with pediatric providers) followed by "Access/Insurance" (e.g., difficulty accessing/finding qualified practitioners, insurance issues), and "Beliefs/Expectations" (e.g., negative beliefs about adult care). Barriers related to "Knowledge" (e.g., limited patient/caregiver knowledge about medication/illness and the transition process) and "Skills/Efficacy" (e.g., lack of self-management skills) were also common. While relationship barriers were commonly reported by all, some barriers varied by transfer status (pre- vs. posttransfer).


Each chronic illness group experiences illness-specific challenges but certain barriers transcend chronic illness populations. Suggestions to overcome these barriers are provided.


adolescents; chronic illness; health care services; transfer; young adult

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