The transition from parent-controlled care to self-managed care represents an important challenge for adolescents with chronic conditions. We sought to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the internalization of motivation to self-care in adolescent liver transplant recipients. We conducted a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with 18 young patients. We triangulated the data collected from the patients with data from parents and health care providers, and used an inductive approach to analyze the data. Our results illustrate three interrelated challenges that impact on young patients' motivation to self-care: (a) the cognitive challenge of fully understanding one's condition and personal health risks; (b) the behavioral challenge of developing independence regarding self-management issues; and (c) the psychological challenge of building a sense of self-ownership and purpose. The latter involves overcoming the trauma of survival and coming to terms with feelings of obligation, two challenges inherent to transplantation that warrant further investigation.
Keywords: adherence / compliance; adolescents / youth; constant comparison; education, patient; illness and disease, chronic; motivation; self-care; transplantation.