Coping among adolescents with long-term health conditions: a mixed-methods study

Nabeel Al-Yateem, Muhammad Arsyad Subu, Arwa Al-Shujairi, Intima Alrimawi, Hend Mohd Ali, Khadija Hasan, Nawal Peer Dad, Maria Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Adolescents with long-term health conditions may be at risk of developing psychological comorbidities and adopting ineffective coping mechanisms if they are not adequately supported at home or school.

AIM: To understand the strategies adolescents use when dealing with challenging health situations, and gain an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of their preferred care environment if they have unexpected health crises.

DESIGN: The study used a concurrent mixed-methods design, with data gathered between January and May 2019. Descriptive and non-parametric tests were used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data.

RESULTS: 'Problem-focused disengagement' was the most-often used coping strategy. The second and third most common strategies were 'problem-focused engagement' and 'emotion-focused engagement'. Finally, girls tended to adopt more negative coping strategies than boys. The analysis revealed that most adolescents preferred home over school as the care environment because these caring agents were close and available, knew how to care for them and had the resources to provide or access care, and listened and understood them. CONCLUSION: Adolescents adopted disengagement and negative coping strategies early in their attempts to cope with stressful events before adopting more positive strategies. This is alarming, especially as school health services are not sufficiently supportive of adolescents at times of stress and illness. Adolescents often perceive school providers as unavailable and lacking knowledge about their health needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-769
Number of pages8
JournalBritish journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2020


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