Patient and Provider Perspectives on Communication About Body Image With Adolescents and Young Adults With Cystic Fibrosis

J Pediatr Psychol. 2017 Oct 1;42(9):1040-1050. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx055.


Objective: This mixed-methods study examined perspectives of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cystic fibrosis (CF) and health care providers on body image communication.

Methods: Interviews and questionnaires were completed by 20 AYAs and 28 providers.

Results: Although 85% of patients reported they had never had a body image conversation with a health care provider, 74% of providers reported discussing this topic with patients. Patients and providers described body image as an important issue, which should be discussed comfortably and supportively. However, patients often preferred to discuss body image as a distinct topic, separate from physical health, whereas providers preferred integrating body image conversations within weight- and health-based discussions.

Conclusions: Body image is an important topic for AYAs with CF that often goes unaddressed or addressed in ways that are less preferred by patients. Providers should reduce barriers to effective communication about this important topic, particularly through increased awareness of AYA preferences.

Keywords: adolescents; cystic fibrosis; qualitative methods.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Body Weight
  • Communication*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Patient Preference
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult