An Australian study of adolescents with cystic fibrosis: perceived supportive and nonsupportive behaviors from families and friends and psychological adjustment

J Adolesc Health. 2000 Jan;26(1):64-9. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(99)00026-9.


Purpose: To identify and compare perceived supportive and nonsupportive behaviors exhibited by family members and friends toward adolescents with cystic fibrosis (CF), and to examine the relationships between supportive and nonsupportive behaviors and adolescents' psychological adjustment.

Method: Participants were 35 adolescents with CF attending the Women's and Children's Hospital in South Australia. Perceived supportive and nonsupportive behaviors were assessed using an adapted version of the Chronic Disease Support Interview. The psychological adjustment of the adolescents was assessed using the Youth Self Report Form. Repeated-measures analyses of variance were performed to compare the support provided by family members and friends. Multiple regression analyses assessed the contribution of supportive and nonsupportive behaviors for the prediction of psychological adjustment.

Results: Family members provided more tangible support than friends who, conversely, provided more companionship support. Overall, family members scored higher than friends on ratings for supportive behaviors. No differences were observed between family members and friends on ratings for nonsupportive behaviors. Rating of nonsupportive behaviors for family members was found to be the strongest predictor of psychological adjustment.

Conclusions: Family members and friends provide different types of support. Family members provide more tangible help with treatment tasks and adolescents provide more companionship. Overall, this study demonstrated the importance of addressing nonsupportive as well as supportive behaviors when investigating the impact of support on the psychological adjustment of adolescents with a chronic illness.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis / prevention & control*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires