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Title: The experience of illness and employment among young adults with a long-term condition
Author: Allbutt, Helen Mary
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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There is little research on how individuals with chronic illness from childhood fare in the labour market as an adult and the perceptions of these groups towards work and career prospects. A qualitative study was undertaken using grounded theory to explore these issues among adults from three disease categories. In total, 30 respondents were interviewed aged between 20-32 years; 10 with cystic fibrosis, 10 with Type 1 diabetes and 10 with arthritis with gender represented equally across the three groups. Respondents had varying degrees of disease severity. There was, however, a consensus among these young adults in how symptoms were experienced and managed. Respondents viewed themselves as competent individuals and their approach to care reflected this standpoint. Management of illness was largely taken-for-granted and perceived only as intrusive by those with deteriorating health. There was some discrepancy between the apparent advice given by health care professionals and decisions made by individuals about illness which were located in the social fabric of day-to-day activities. No specialist careers guidance had been available to these young adults. Career choice was hindered by lack of educational attainment in some cases and restricted employment opportunities in others. Most respondents were not familiar with welfare to work initiatives. At the point of interview, 20 were in full-time jobs, 2 worked part-time, 3 attended higher educational institutions and 5 were out of work receiving full disability-related benefits. Disclosure of health status in employment emerged as a key issue. Half the sample reported having to make some sort of adjustment to manage working lives. The majority of these involved self-care strategies such as buying special adaptations, getting up extra early on work days and making great efforts to accommodate meals into busy schedules. These types of adjustments were seemingly acknowledged by employers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available