Experiences of adolescents living with a diagnosed chronic, auto–immune illness
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The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of adolescents living with a diagnosed chronic auto-immune Illness (CAI) due to the fact that there is a wider increase in the prevalence and incidence of auto-immune illnesses among adolescents. The researcher applied one primary scientific paradigm and two theories in this study, namely the Gestalt paradigm, Field theory and Erikson’s Theory of Adolescent Development, pertaining to adolescents living with a CAI. A qualitative, explorative and descriptive case study approach was followed. Purposive sampling was used to select six adolescents with a diagnosed CAI. Data was collected through individual semi-structured interviews and observations. Qualitative data analysis using Creswell’s “data analysis spiral” was used to analyse data and identify themes. It was clear that the adolescents” environments, as well as their intra- and interpersonal resources and outlook on life have an influence on the way they experience their illness. They experienced a continuum of feelings which ranged from support and encouragement from family and community members, to a lack of understanding from community members, and ridicule and isolation by peers. Sharing success stories and exploring a multidisciplinary, more holistic treatment plan that focuses on mind, body and soul, may benefit adolescents living with a CAI.
- Humanities