Living with juvenile arthritis: Adolescents' challenges and experiences

Molly Secor-Turner, Peter Scal, Ann Garwick, Keith Horvath, Courtney Kellerman Wells

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23 Scopus citations


Introduction: The objective of this study was to identify challenges that teens experience while living with juvenile arthritis (JA) from the perspective of youth and young adults with JA. Method: Focus group interviews were conducted with youth (aged 14-21 years) and young adults (aged 22-29 years) with JA using a semi-structured interview protocol that included questions about the challenges adolescents experience while living with arthritis. Results: Challenges of living with JA were identified in the areas of (a) health care, (b) relationships, (c) school, (d) physical, and (e) individual. However, distinct perspectives emerged between youth and young adult participants. For youth, challenges were situated in present time and focused heavily on interpersonal situations. Alternatively, young adults reported challenges that illuminated their experiences of movement from adolescence into young adulthood (e.g., independently managing their JA and disclosure to dating partners). Discussion: Findings from this study display complex and multifaceted experiences that teens face while living with arthritis. Experiences associated with arthritis were not limited to being described as health care-related challenges; rather, arthritis permeates multiple contexts in adolescents' lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-307
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part through grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (“Entry into Adult Care for Youth with Chronic Conditions,” K08 HS015511 , Scal) and the University of Minnesota-Academic Health Center Faculty Research Development Program (“Internet-Based Health Care Transition Program,” Scal, Garwick, and Horvath).

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adolescent
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Qualitative research
  • Transition


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