Young at heart: understanding the unique psychosocial adjustment of young implantable cardioverter defibrillator recipients

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2001 Jul;24(7):1113-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9592.2001.01113.x.


This article reviews the data related to psychosocial adjustment of young ICD recipients, postulates theories to explain potential adjustment difficulties to ICD therapy experienced by younger recipients, and suggests clinical management techniques for addressing the unique psychosocial concerns of young ICD recipients. Studies of young ICD recipients suggest that a wide range of psychosocial adjustment issues are prominent in the post-ICD implantation period and that the issues may be different from older ICD recipients. The disability-stress-coping model and the transactional-stress-coping model are postulated as explanations for the unique adjustment concerns of children and adolescents with ICDs. Social comparison theory is also applied to the concerns of young adults with ICDs such that they often lack same age peers to compare experiences with cardiac difficulties. Brief, clinic-based interventions by health care providers, like a screening and referral heuristic and an "ICD Buddy" system, are suggested to increase effective coping and decrease social isolation for young ICD recipients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Defibrillators, Implantable / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Social Adjustment*