Parent-Child Dyadic Experiences Living with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) during Emerging Adulthood
Farchtchi, Masumeh Auguste
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Chronic illness and invisible disability are impactful contexts during emerging adulthood and the launching stage of the family life cycle (Beatty, 2011; Capelle, Visser, and Vosman, 2016; Young et al., 2010). The parent-child relationship is important to both developmental and health outcomes in families coping with chronic illness during emerging adulthood (Crandell, Sandelowski, Leeman, Haville, and Knafle, 2018; Fenton, Ferries, Ko, Javalkar, and Hooper, 2015; Waldboth, Patch, Mahrer-Imhaf, and Metcalfe, 2016). While informed clinical competency in counseling families experiencing disablement is a diversity-affirmative ethical imperative among psychotherapists (Mona et al., 2017), little is known in family therapy about how parents and emerging adult children experience launching with chronic illness. This qualitative study explored the parent-child dyadic experience of living with a chronic illness called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) during emerging adulthood. Seven dyads of parents and their emerging adult children with POTS were interviewed. Data analysis of in-depth interviews using Moustakas's (1994) transcendental phenomenology uncovered eight thematic clusters of meaning in the shared lived experience of POTS at the launching stage of the family life cycle. Clinical implications for family therapists were explored using Rolland's family system-illness (FSI) model of medical family therapy. Study limitations and future directions for further research were discussed.
General Audience Abstract
More and more young adults are living with chronic illness. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a little-known chronic illness that tends to begin during adolescence. Like many health problems that disproportionately affect women, POTS is often overlooked by doctors. POTS symptoms, such as dizziness and cognitive difficulty, impact a person's ability to engage in preferred activities and identities. Family therapists can play an impactful role in supporting parents and children with POTS through developmental tasks related to launching an emerging adult in the context of this complex and widely misunderstood chronic illness. This thesis presented the first qualitative study of parent-child dyadic experiences living with POTS. Clinical implications for medical family therapy were highlighted. To construct an interview framework, Rolland's Family Systems-Illness (FSI) clinical model for helping families cope with illness and disability was used in conjunction with Arnett's description of emerging adulthood as a developmental stage in life. Seven parent-child dyads were interviewed for 1-2 hours in fourteen separate interviews generating transcripts about 140,000 words long in total. Analysis of these interviews identified shared themes composing the essence of the parent-child experience living with POTS during emerging adulthood. Results were described through tables and narratives. Clinical implications for family therapists working with parents and children with POTS during emerging adulthood were proposed. Limitations and ideas for future studies were discussed.
- Masters Theses