Patients aged between 12 and 16 years with cystic fibrosis were interviewed, as were their parents, to find out if psychosocial problems existed. All 27 of them appeared to be well adjusted and none had special problems at school; they were not socially isolated, and family relationships seemed to be good. Contributing factors were good communications patterns within the family and perhaps denial of the ultimate outcome of the disease, since few patients wished to know more about cystic fibrosis. Comparison with a group of healthy adolescents and their mothers showed that the patients had a tendency (not significant) towards depression. Among the mothers however, the incidence of depression was slightly greater. It was concluded that psychiatric intervention should only be undertaken cautiously with adolescents, but that special help should be given to the mothers as they appeared to carry the main burden of coping with the illness.
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