Does illness help young adults take charge of their own health?

March 15, 2017

Does illness help young adults take charge of their own health?

Reuters

Adolescents and young adults coping with chronic illness may be better prepared to take charge of their own care than their healthy peers, a recent study suggests.

Researchers examined a critical juncture in adolescent medicine - the transition from being a pediatric patient and getting a lot of guidance from parents to becoming an adult who makes independent medical decisions.

The study of 494 older adolescent and young adult patients found that having chronic medical conditions was associated with greater readiness for this transition, more self-involvement in completing health-related tasks and less input from parents.

Parents should expect teens to be more involved in their own care, including having children schedule their own appointments, prepare a list of questions for doctors, and handling their own check-in and check-out, said Sarah Clark, IHPI member and children’s health researcher at U-M, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“And parents, stay out of the exam room,” Clark said. “Allow teens and providers to have a focused and private conversation.”

Featured IHPI Members