Adult adjustment to chronic illness: a review of the literature

Health Soc Work. 1997 Feb;22(1):5-11. doi: 10.1093/hsw/22.1.5.


The uncertain nature and erratic course of chronic illnesses pose unique challenges for those diagnosed. To help the growing numbers of nongeriatric adults clients with chronic illness, social workers are obliged to develop a substantial awareness surrounding the topic. An assessment of each client's developmental needs and an understanding of how that individual copes with emotional loss are critical to providing psychosocial assistance most effectively. This article surveys the current professional literature regarding adjustment to chronic illness and addresses its significance and implications for social workers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Work