The Influence of Clinical Variables on the Psychological Adaptation of Adolescents after Solid Organ Transplantation

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Abstract

This study assessed the influence of clinical and socio-demographic variables on the psychological adaptation of transplanted adolescents. Twenty-six transplanted adolescents and 25 healthy adolescents, aged 13–17, and their parents participated in the study. The following domains were measured: social competence, emotional/behavioral problems, self-concept, self-esteem and subjective well-being. The findings revealed that transplanted boys presented significantly less social competence (U = 26,000, p <.05) and more externalizing problems (U = 25,000, p < .05), social problems (U = 25,000, p < .05) and attention problems (U = 17,500, p < .01) than healthy boys. In contrast, transplanted girls displayed significantly more internalizing problems (U = 47,000, p < .05) and lower physical self-concept (U = 49,500, p < .05) than healthy girls. Hierarchical regression analysis showed clinical variables, especially waiting-list time, significantly predicted attention problems (β = .364, p < .05) and negative affect (β = .632, p < .05) in transplanted adolescents. Also, male (β = −0.554, p < .01) and younger (β = −0.444, p < .01) transplanted adolescents were at risk for attention problems. Our data suggest the importance of the waiting-list time for transplanted adolescents. Efforts to reduce the pretransplant phase would help adolescents achieve better psychological adaptation at long-term posttransplant.

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