Background: Young people with advanced chronic kidney disease experience delayed growth and poor psychosocial outcomes. This study aims to elicit the experiences and perspectives of young people waiting for a kidney transplant. Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with people aged 12-24 years from 6 Australian renal units. Participants also were asked to complete a journal. Interview transcripts and journal entries were analyzed thematically. Results: 27 individuals participated in the study. 5 major themes were identified: inferiority (impaired body image, failing expectations, sick identity, and being a burden), insecurity (contending with prognostic uncertainty, vulnerability, and doubtful future), injustice (deprived of freedom, victimhood, and lost opportunity), resilience (autonomy and empowerment and maturity), and adjustment mentality (self-blame, reserved optimism, focusing on normality, and self-efficacy). Conclusions: Young dialysis- and non-dialysis-dependent patients with chronic kidney disease have an impaired sense of self-worth, perceive a precarious future, and feel limited in their physical and psychosocial capacities to have the same potential and opportunity as their healthy peers. Strategies to increase patient autonomy and self-efficacy in treatment management and to manage the emotional burdens of future uncertainties and lifestyle disruptions are needed to protect and promote the health and well-being of young people waiting for a kidney transplant.
- qualitative research