Paediatric cystic fibrosis patients' attitudes and beliefs regarding risky health behaviours

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    Objectives: The initiation of risky health behaviours (RHBs) (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, poor adherence) during adolescence is well documented. There is little research on adolescent beliefs and motivations towards RHBs, therefore qualitative research explored CF adolescents' understanding of and beliefs about RHBs. Previous research with adults retrospectively investigating reasons for engaging in RHBs in adolescence demonstrated that a desire for normalcy, and awareness and acceptance of CF were key factors in initiation and engagement (Keyte et al, 2016). Methods: Ten paediatric participants were recruited (5 male, age range 12-18 years) from two UK CF centres, with a median FEV1 69.14% predicted. Qualitative semi-structured interviews provided an interpretive perspective regarding RHB decision making. Results: A number of participants believed that not adhering to treatments would make them feel more normal and therefore would be a positive experience. In the present study smoking and drinking were often not seen in the same way as non-adherence, many participants did not suggest that engagement in these behaviours would engender feelings of normalcy. There was a lack of knowledge of the additional detrimental consequences for CF of engaging in any of the described RHBs, with some participants reporting that such information is rarely or never provided by HCPs. Conclusion: This research highlights some of the attitudes and beliefs that young people with CF hold regarding RHBs. A desire to be normal, acceptance of CF, and awareness of risks are shown to be influential in initiation and engagement. Whilst smoking and drinking were often not reported as desirable behaviours, we know that positive beliefs and engagement in such behaviours are frequently under reported. The stated lack of knowledge of the consequences of RHBs demonstrates the need for more effective health promotion measures specific to CF to encourage healthy lifestyles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S39-S40
    JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 2017


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