University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Aging with cerebral palsy: Psychosocial issues


Horsman, M., Suto, M., Dudgeon, B., & Harris, S.R



Publication Info:

Age and Aging, 39:294-299


BACKGROUND: although much has been written about biomedical concerns in adults ageing with cerebral palsy (CP), few studies or reviews have addressed psychosocial aspects.
OBJECTIVE: the purpose of this narrative review is to critically examine studies that have addressed needs for social support, as well as issues affecting morale, self-efficacy, health attitudes, employment and sense of coherence (SOC) in adults ageing with CP.
DESIGN: a systematic and detailed search of the literature was conducted.
METHODS: searches of CINAHL (1982-present), ERIC, PubMed (1950-present), MEDLINE (Ovid) and Web of Science databases, as well as the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine website, were conducted. Key search terms included 'cerebral palsy and ageing', 'adults with cerebral palsy', 'secondary conditions', 'functional loss', 'health' and 'psychosocial'. Nine studies were recovered that described psychosocial consequences of living with a lifespan disability. We used McMaster University's Guidelines for Critical Review Form--Quantitative and Qualitative Studies to evaluate the studies.
RESULTS: psychosocial issues of concern to adults ageing with CP include the need for social support, self-acceptance and acceptance by others; the need for accommodations in the workplace and the environment; and SOC of adults ageing with CP.
CONCLUSIONS: several studies concluded that adults with CP need greater knowledge and understanding to enhance decision-making processes about their health. The studies reviewed also provide knowledge for healthcare and social service providers who care for adults with CP to better understand how psychosocial health can be preserved during the ageing process.

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