Purpose: Significant improvements in survival of patients with cystic fibrosis lead clinicians and researchers to focus on how patients can be enabled to lead as normal a life as possible throughout their entire life span. The study aimed at analyzing the vocational and social achievement, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being of adolescents and adults with cystic fibrosis.
Methods: During a routine clinic visit, 670 German patients with cystic fibrosis (12-64 years, M = 23.1) completed questionnaires on their vocational and social achievement, life satisfaction, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Cross-sectional analyses were applied across four age-groups (12-20 years, 21-30 years, 31-40 years, and 41 years and older).
Results: Most patients with cystic fibrosis reached employment and independence from their parents during adulthood. Life satisfaction was negatively associated with age, with the largest difference between the second and third life decade. A strong negative association of anxious and depressive symptoms with life satisfaction was found. Lung function was significantly positively related to life satisfaction, even though this association was less pronounced.
Conclusions: Most patients with cystic fibrosis achieve ordinary social and vocational development into adulthood. A favorable mental health status seems more important than pulmonary function to maintain a good satisfaction with life.