ERIC Number: ED175530
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jun
Reference Count: 0
The Adolescent with a Life-Threatening Illness: Cultural Myths and Social Realities.
Nannis, Ellen D.; And Others
This paper discusses the attitudes of terminally ill adolescent patients towards their illness and their behaviors during their treatment. Preliminary results are reported on an ongoing study of 12 boys and six girls (age 8-21) with metastatic pediatric solid tumors and lymphomas that failed to respond to conventional treatment. Interviews of patients and parents, daily systematic observations of patients and people with whom they interacted, and daily ratings of the patients by nurses and parents were utilized in a research design with experimental and control groups. Findings indicate that terminally ill adolescents have the same concerns as their healthy peers. Severely ill adolescents have truncated time frames and a high sense of immortality. Their lives are present-oriented and focused on getting through their treatment. Despite knowledge of the gravity of their conditions, terminally ill youth do not view themselves as about to die. Dependence/independence conflicts appear to be exacerbated for these young people. Frequently those under 15 years of age rebel against authority figures. Physical and emotional dependence appear to increase as treatment progresses. Some regressive behavior occurs. It is suggested that treatment models which emphasize achieving ego integrity through acceptance of death appear to be inappropriate for terminally ill adolescents. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for the Care of Children in Hospitals (13th, Washington, D.C., June 1978)