SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • psychosocial;
  • quality of life;
  • intervention;
  • social support

Abstract

Theories of human development suggest that, although all cancer patients experience a common set of life disruptions, they experience them differently, focus on different issues, and attach different levels of importance to different aspects of the experience depending on the time in life at which they were diagnosed. During the critical developmental transition from childhood to adulthood, older adolescents and young adults in particular have typical concerns with establishing identity, developing a positive body image and sexual identity, separating from parents, increasing involvement with peers and dating, and beginning to make decisions about careers or employment, higher education, and/or family. Accordingly, cancer-related issues such as premature confrontation with mortality, changes in physical appearance, increased dependence on parents, disruptions in social life and school/employment because of treatment, loss of reproductive capacity, and health-related concerns about the future may be particularly distressing for adolescents and young adults. Psychosocial and behavioral interventions for young adult cancer patients and survivors often involve assisting these individuals in retaining or returning to function in significant social roles, such as spouse, parent, student, worker, or friend. Successful interventions will enable these young people to overcome the detrimental impact of a health crisis and strengthen the internal and external coping resources available to them. Cancer 2011;117(10 suppl):2289–94. © 2011 American Cancer Society.