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Cognitive Essay

1779 words - 8 pages

Discuss the impact of chronic medical conditions on adolescents (12-18yo) and identify ways of promoting resilience or positive development (1300 min-1500 max words).

A chronic or long-term illness results in major physical and psychological changes to the individual. The illness requires them to adjust to the burdens of the therapy implicated to treat the condition. There are multiple emotional, cognitive, motivational and behavioral factors that are stressed during the ongoing illness that hinders the individuals ability to develop and function healthily within Sigmund Freuds psychodynamic structure. Additional theories according to B.F Skinner, Mccrae & Costa and Carl Rogers ...view middle of the document...

The chronically ill adolescent will find it hard to relate to peers due to ‘medical events (which act) as constant reminders of vulnerability for future episodes, which may complicate the developmental task of planning the future (Taylor, Gibson, & Franck, 2008). Simple social events such as going out on the weekends or participating in recreational activities can be a rarity amongst ill adolescents due to the distant relationship they must take for the safety of their own physical health. Being somewhat out casted in this way can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, attributes which Mccrae and Costa believe to be one of the big five personalities; the neurotic personality, where the individual will feel isolated therefore be vulnerable, self conscious, insecure and anxious (Barkaway 2009). This extract compliments Carl Rogers ‘self-concept’ who states ‘The image we have of ourselves can change with disease, injury or treatment’ (Gross &Kinnison,2007). Additionally, this constant confliction with the want to enjoy life as a healthy young adult, and the reality of not being able to, can result in anxiety, a theory created by Sigmund Freud who claims the ID (the want) and The Ego (reality principle) can conflict, which will lead to anxiety, resulting in the reliance of different ‘defence mechanisms’ (Weiten, 2011) to deal with the problems they are facing socially. It ultimately affects their ability to socialise and relate to others. The feelings of seclusion can disappoint us and we can feel alone and unwanted. Our self-esteem, which Coopersmith defines as ‘a personal self-judgement of worthiness’ can be dramatically decreased which could lead to an additional chronic illness: depression. Additionally, dealing with the illness alone can also add to emotional frustration.

"For about 2 to 3 months, whenever I had them [epileptic fits], I would get angry all of the time. Frustrated. " (16-year-old male) (Olsson)

Simultaneously with Cystic Fibrosis and other life expectancy shortening chronic diseases, one can feel hopeless for the future, especially during adolescents. The reality of a closely supervised future could make the individual hopeless for their future. There might not be a future according to their beliefs. They might ask themselves What’s the point? Or Why has God punished me? (Nina Reynolds,2012). Of course this isn’t the case with other less life threatening conditions such as asthma or diabetes, but the future can feel significantly impacted based on their current medical condition.

Secondly, the impact of chronic illness on an adolescent can deteriorate the individuals ability to sustain healthy relationships within the family setting and even with medical staff. Like all teenagers, chronically ill adolescents want to gain independence from their parents too, yet simultaneously with certain chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or sorts of cancer, they rely heavily on the support of the very same...

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