Striving to live a normal life: a review of children and young people's experience of feeling different when living with a long term condition

J Pediatr Nurs. 2015 Jan-Feb;30(1):63-77. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2014.09.016. Epub 2014 Oct 5.


This paper presents a review of findings from qualitative studies on children's experience of feeling different when living with the long term conditions; diabetes, epilepsy and asthma. Following electronic database and hand searches of reference lists of identified papers, eighteen studies were selected for inclusion in the review. These studies revealed three common themes; participation in everyday life-restrictions and adjustments; treatment regimens-constraining and enabling; and communication-disclosure, stigma and support. Across these themes it was evident that children felt different physically and socially and they grappled constantly with balancing the dilemma of feeling and acting normal or feeling, being and revealing difference.

Keywords: Children; Feeling different; Literature review; Long-term condition; Normalcy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Communication
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Health
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Stigma