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Mental representations of illness in children and adolescents with lymphostasis
Kurtanova J.Y., Ph.D. in Psychology, head of the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, faculty of Clinical and Special Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, Ulia.Kurtanova@yandex.ru
The article provides the results of the experimental psychological research aimed at investigation of attitudes towards the illness in children and adolescents with lymphostasis. The research was carried out basing on the Russian rehabilitation center “Detstvo”. The sample included 38 children with lymphostasis aged from 7 to 16 years old. The research methods included the author’s modification of standardized clinical interview and projective drawing – modified version of the N.L. Belopolskaya tool for evaluation of age and gender identification. The results revealed the contents of mental representation of illness in children with lymphostasis at different levels. Cognitive level is characterized with sufficiently developed notion of the illness, sensitive level – with low severity of pain experience. The children’s negative emotional experiences are primarily connected with changes in appearance resulting from lymph swelling and reach their peak in adolescence. The main challenges for children and adolescents with lymphostasis are acceptance of one’s physical Self, social adjustment, adaptation to the illness-related restrictions. The article suggests recommendations for professionals engaged in psychological rehabilitation of children with lymphostasis.
Keywords: mental representation of an illness, lymphostasis, psychological rehabilitation