This work aims to study self-esteem in adolescents with diabetes, asthma and epilepsy; compare the results with those of the representative sample of healthy adolescents; and evaluate the predictive value of certain demographic, family-related, and disease-related factors on self-esteem.
A total of 148 chronically ill adolescents and 301 matched healthy counterparts completed the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale and the "I think I am" questionnaire. Adolescents' parents answered socio-economic status questions. Disease severity was evaluated by doctors of the outpatient clinic.
Comparison analysis of the three disease groups revealed highest self-esteem perception in adolescents with diabetes, and lowest in adolescents with epilepsy. Unexpectedly, adolescents with diabetes scored higher than their healthy counterparts. There were no significant differences between the reports of adolescents with asthma and controls. In the epilepsy group, self-esteem was predicted mostly by disease severity and socio-economic status in diabetes and asthma groups, as well as by age and gender.
The maintenance of positive self-esteem in adolescents with diabetes and asthma is a very reassuring finding. The other results of our study provide support for recognizing adolescents with epilepsy as a vulnerable group in the society. A multidisciplinary professional approach targeted on adolescents with epilepsy is needed, with focus on factors connected with maturation and gender issues.