Readiness to transfer to adult care of adolescents with chronic conditions: exploration of associated factors

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Mar;48(3):295-302. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.07.009. Epub 2010 Nov 12.


Purpose: To explore associations between adolescents' perception of their readiness to transfer to adult care and socio-demographic and disease-related characteristics, effect of the condition, self-management ability, and attitude toward transition.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a Dutch university hospital, where all adolescents (12-19 years) with somatic chronic conditions (n = 3,648) were invited to participate in a web-based questionnaire. Invitations were issued to those without an intellectual disability and who had been under treatment for at least 3 years.

Results: In all, 30% (n = 1,087) of the adolescents responded; 954 assessed their perception of readiness for transfer. The majority (56%) felt that they were ready for transfer. Logistic regression analyses showed that 48% of the total variance in transfer readiness (TR) could be explained. Feeling more self-efficacious in skills for independent hospital visits and a greater perceived independence during consultations were found to be most strongly associated with being ready to transfer. Higher TR was associated with older age, but age did not prove to be the most important explaining variable. Adolescents with a more positive attitude toward transition and those who reported more discussions related to future transfer also felt more ready. Disease-related factors and effect of the condition including quality of life were only weakly associated with higher TR.

Conclusions: Adolescents' attitude to transition and their level of self-efficacy in managing self-care seem to be the keystones to TR. This study suggests that individual transition plans and readiness assessments might prove to be beneficial. Strengthening adolescents' independence and self-management competencies, combined with early preparation and repeated discussions on transition, seem to be useful strategies to increase adolescents' readiness for transfer to adult care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Transfer
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires