This study assessed the illness centrality of adolescents with CF and the specific ways that CF may affect adolescents’ identities, through the qualitative analysis of video narratives. Adolescents with CF were loaned video cameras and asked to “show us your life outside the hospital” and to “teach your healthcare team about your CF.” Four major themes were identified related to illness centrality: CF is Central, CF is Compartmentalized, CF is Integrated into Self Image, CF is Denied. Integration and compartmentalization often co-existed. Four themes emerged related to the role of CF in self-image and identity: (1) Valence (positive or negative); (2) Control (no control or some control); (3) Difference/Normalcy (different, normal, normal except for CF); (4) Acceptance/adaptation (acknowledgement of CF, reworking life to accommodate CF). Adolescents did not have just one feeling about CF but felt differently at different times. Younger and/or healthier adolescents were less likely to focus on CF as central to their self-image. When not dealing directly with treatments or clinic visits, these adolescents had identities comprised largely of “typical” adolescent interests such as school, friends, hobbies, and family. CF played a more prominent role in the identities of older and sicker adolescents. Adolescents also found ways to adapt or alter their lives and their CF-related activities to make them feel more like “normal” adolescents. Implications for treatment are provided.
Horky, Susan LCSW; Sherman, Laura LICSW; Polvinen, Julie K. BA; Saxena, Medhavi MD; and Rich, Michael MD
"I’m going to tell you a little about myself: Illness centrality, self-image and identity in cystic fibrosis,"
Patient Experience Journal: Vol. 4
, Article 15.
Available at: https://pxjournal.org/journal/vol4/iss3/15