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Caregiving by teens for family members with Huntington disease

Janet K. Williams, University of Iowa
Lioness Ayres, University of Iowa
Janet K. Specht, University of Iowa
K. Sparbel
M. L. Klimek


The purpose of this report is to describe caregiving by teens for family members with Huntington disease (HD). Thirty-two teens in HD families in the United States and Canada participated in focus groups from 2002 to 2005 in a study to identify concerns and strategies to manage concerns. An unexpected finding was 24 (77%) described caregiving activities. Descriptive analysis of caregiving statements identified themes of Tasks and Responsibilities, Subjective Burden, Caregiving in Context of Personal Risk for HD, and Decisional Responsibility. Teens took an active part in nearly all aspects of care with the exception of contacting health care providers and attending doctors' appointments. Some described emotional distress, and many provided care knowing they had the potential to develop HD. Teens recognized the need for decisions but lacked the authority to make these decisions. Findings may be relevant for other teens who strive to meet caregiver and student roles and developmental tasks.

Suggested Citation

Janet K. Williams, Lioness Ayres, Janet K. Specht, K. Sparbel, and M. L. Klimek. "Caregiving by teens for family members with Huntington disease" Journal of Family Nursing 15.3 (2009): 273-294.
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