Identification and assessment of ongoing stressors in adolescents with a chronic illness: an application of the behavior-analytic model.

A. M. DiGirolamo, A. L. Quittner, V. Ackerman, J. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Applied Goldfriend and D'Zurilla's (1969) Behavior-Analytic Model to the development of a context-specific measure of stressful situations for adolescents with a serious, chronic illness. In completing the situational analysis phase of the model, 45 adolescents with cystic fibrosis (CF), 20 parents of adolescents with CF, and 8 health care professionals completed structured interviews or daily diaries to obtain the widest range of problematic situations. The adolescent sample was recruited from two different medical centers, and stratified by sex and illness severity. A total of 1,174 problem situations were elicited across all participants and then content-analyzed into 164 nonredundant items in 10 domains (e.g., Medications and Treatment, and School). Few relations were found between demographic variables (e.g., age and illness severity) and the number or difficulty of problematic situations. Both adolescents and parents mentioned the greatest number of problematic situations in the domains of School, Medications and Treatment, and Parent-Teen Relationship. In terms of difficulty, all three respondents (i.e., teens, parents, and health care professionals) rated problems with Clinic and Hospital Visits as very difficult. For the adolescent sample, problems in the Parent-Teen Relationship and Health Concerns were also highly difficult. Significant associations were found between the problematic situations we identified and standardized measures of social and emotional functioning. Adolescents who rated their problems as more difficult also endorsed more symptoms of depression and lower perceptions of social competence. In a future study, the most salient items will be selected to create a role-play measure to elicit adolescents' coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-66
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of clinical child psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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