Young adults' experience of living with neurofibromatosis type 1

J Genet Couns. 2013 Apr;22(2):188-99. doi: 10.1007/s10897-012-9527-5. Epub 2012 Jul 20.


Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) may have many psychosocial consequences for affected adults. More knowledge is needed about the experience of psychosocial aspects in different stages of adulthood. This qualitative study aims to describe the experiences and concerns of persons living with NF1 in the early stages of adulthood. In semi-structured interviews, Norwegian adults with NF1 (n = 15) between 18 and 37 years of age described their experiences and concerns. Interview transcripts were analysed in a both concept and data driven way. Severity of NF1 was assessed from interview data. Our data indicate that many informants have more friends than in childhood, including friends with NF1. An important topic is whether or not to inform others about the NF1 diagnosis . Low self-confidence is common, often related to early school failure and bullying or to visible neurofibromas. The unpredictable development of NF1 causes much concern. The experience of NF1's impact seems less associated with the assessed severity than with social network, relation to the labour market, and psychological factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / complications
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / physiopathology
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / psychology*
  • Norway
  • Self Concept
  • Young Adult