Psychological aspects of cystic fibrosis in children

Although altogether modern therapeutic procedures have considerably improved the survival and the quality of life of children with cystic fibrosis, the relevant psychological aspects have still been insufficiently considered. The aim of this study was the evaluation of the psychological characteristics and adjustment of CF children, together with how the family coped. The psychometric instruments used were: Kohs Design Test, Eyzenck Personality Questionnaire, General Anxiety Scale, Emotional Profile Index, Human Value Test and two projective drawing test for 25 CF children (aged 10.13 2.3 years) and Child Behavior Checklist for the mothers. The unexpected good psychological results obtained from psychometrics instruments could be explained by the fact that CF children accept the real situation and express vivacity, but their deep feelings of fear impose on them a high level of self-control and resistance. Results from CBCL presented CF children as immature, with accentuated aggressiveness in interpersonal relationships. The most important problem is related to the delay of puberty changes in CF children leading to low self-esteem. Generally, family members cope relatively well with disease in children, in spite of discrepancies in mother/child reports of child psychopathology, but divorce also occured in a few families, as well as the persistent influence of insecurity of the long-term prognosis for the functioning of the family. Psychological support for patients, family members especially mothers is necessary in the treatment of these children. A need for a holistic approach in the assessment and therapy, including biofeedback techniques, was pointed out.
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 45, No 3, july - september 2001
Authors: N. Pop-Jordanova, S. Fuštić, T. Zorčec
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