Adolescents with chronic illness and the transition to self-management: A systematic review

health literacy
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Early to late adolescence is an intense period of development.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that teens may avoid or ignore treatment regimens.

Teens must master and prioritize daily complex symptom management.

Parents need to communicate, monitor adherence, and be a resource.



Chronic illness effects one in ten adolescents worldwide. Adolescence involves a desire for autonomy from parental control and the necessity to transition care from parent to child. This review investigates the transition to adolescent self-management of chronic illness treatment behaviors in the context of parent-adolescent relationships.


A systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, and Web of Science was conducted from earliest database records to early June 2017. Articles were included if they focused on adolescents, addressed illness self-management, discussed the parent-adolescent relationship, and were published in English. Articles were excluded if the chronic illness was a mental health condition, included children younger than 10 years of age, or lacked peer review.


Nine studies met inclusion criteria. Outcomes included challenges to adolescent self-management, nature of the parent-adolescent relationship, illness representation, perceptions of adolescent self-efficacy in compliance, medical decision making, laboratory measures, and adolescent self-management competence. Across diagnoses, parents who were available to monitor, be a resource, collaborate with their adolescent, and engage in ongoing dialogue were key in the successful transition to autonomous illness management.


There is a paucity of research addressing the experiences of adolescents in becoming experts in their own care.

Link to article here


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