4th ARPH Congress edition:4 location:Ghent, Belgium date:5-6 February 2015
During this presentation, two key issues will be addressed. First of all, we examine whether adolescents with congenital heart disease (conHD) have an increased risk for developing certain self-related vulnerabilities due to the additional stressors that they are facing. Although previous research identified some minor differences between adolescents with and without conHD (i.e., patients had lower extraversion scores and explored future possibilities less broadly as compared to healthy controls), patients seem to be as competent as their peers in addressing the developmental task of identity formation and in establishing a mature sense of self. Second, we explore the role of patients’ personality and self-concept for their physical and psychological health. Although extensive research has linked Type A and Type D personality to mortality and adverse health outcomes in patient groups with acquired cardiovascular pathologies, the personality and self-concept of individuals with conHD has received little to no attention in the literature. We will briefly discuss the findings of three recent studies in which patients’ personality and identity status were found to predict a variety of outcomes including quality of life, self-rated health, and health care utilization, even after controlling for the effects of sex, age, and illness complexity. These findings suggest that patients’ personality and self-concept might be important targets for future intervention and prevention efforts aimed at improving patients’ physical and psychological health. However, more research is needed before such interventions can be implemented into clinical practice.