University of Leicester
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An investigation into how older adolescents with epilepsy cope with making the transition to adulthood

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:46 authored by Dawn K. Reeve
Chronic illnesses such as epilepsy, have been shown to have detrimental effects on both psychological adjustment and coping behaviour. Using the process model of coping, these effects were investigated in a patient group of 36, 16-21 year olds with epilepsy. The patient group were compared with a control group of 31 of their peers with regard to both their psychological adjustment and how they coped with making the transition to adulthood. In order to further test the process theory, a comparison was made between how the patient group coped with making the transition to adulthood and how they coped with epilepsy. The relative importance of the perception of illness and condition characteristics to psychological adjustment and coping was also considered in the patient group. Participants completed a postal questionnaire which contained measures of psychological adjustment (self esteem, affect, self efficacy) and an adolescent coping questionnaire. Results showed that the patient group exhibited significantly more non productive coping than the control group. The control group exhibited significantly more problem solving coping and displayed a significantly more problem solving bias than the patient group. No differences were found between the patient and control group on measures of psychological adjustment. However, psychological adjustment was found to be associated with coping response in the patient and not the control group. Some differences were found in the cross-situational coping response within the patient group. Perception of illness, in particular, acceptance of illness, had more influence on the psychological adjustment and coping behaviour of the patient group than condition characteristics. The clinical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed and the limitations of the study acknowledged.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Clinical Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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