Psychological predictors of nutritional adherence in adolescents with cystic fibrosis

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2019 Oct;33:143-147. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2019.06.004. Epub 2019 Jun 19.


Background & aims: The CF medical regimen is notoriously burdensome, comprised of respiratory treatments, oral medications, and nutritional demands. Adequate caloric intake has been identified as a challenge over the lifespan; however, we lack detailed information about nutritional adherence in teens, and the contextual drivers of these behaviors. Adolescence is a time of increased responsibility, reduced parental monitoring, and growing peer connections. There is no literature examining the impact of familial attitudes (e.g., privacy, disease disclosure) and the social milieu (e.g., friendships) on teen nutritional adherence behavior. We hypothesized that better teen nutritional adherence behaviors would be predicted by more favorable familial privacy attitudes, better relationship quality, and greater comfort in disease disclosure.

Methods: Assessment included questionnaires of caregiver privacy attitudes, relationship quality, and disease disclosure. Teens tracked PERT adherence for 1 month and logged daily caloric intake for 2 weeks. This produced detailed information on daily enzyme adherence, caloric intake, and eating frequency.

Results: Average PERT adherence, caloric intake, and eating frequency were suboptimal in this sample. More comfort in disease disclosure and less teen/mother discord predicted better PERT adherence. Higher caregiver privacy and lower teen closeness with friends predicted greater caloric intake and eating frequency.

Conclusions: Results suggest that comfort in disease disclosure supports consistent PERT adherence across environments. Adolescents with close friendships may have less time for self-management (e.g., eating). Future research should collect more detailed information about friendships of teens with CF. Results suggest that daily structure and positive, appropriately supportive relationships should be encouraged by care teams.

Keywords: Adherence; Adolescence; Cystic fibrosis; Nutrition; Psychology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*