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Health in everyday life. The competences and autonomy of children and adolescents in treatment practices

TitleHealth in everyday life. The competences and autonomy of children and adolescents in treatment practices
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsFavretto ARosa, Zaltron F
Date Published10/2014
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordsadolescence, childhood, competence, treatment practices

This paper presents some of the findings of research conducted to understand the representations and skills of children and adolescents in matters relating to health, illness and treatment practices. Before we discuss these findings, we present a number of theoretical considerations regarding criticism of works studying the relationship between childhood and illness, where children are viewed primarily as a “body” treated or taken care of by adults with different roles. Conversely, the approach adopted for the research holds that children and teenagers are subjects possessing agency, capable of understanding the experience of illness and able to cope actively with their own malaise and illness itself. The findings presented largely concern the competence that children and adolescents ascribe to themselves in recognising, understanding and communicating their states of malaise and illness, and in using remedies and medication. They also concern which subjects should be called upon in the event of malaise or illness, to how the work of care is shared within the family and what expectations are made of each gender. The research was conducted during two summer camps (summer 2011) with 80 children and teenagers (8-9 and 14-17 years of age) from different regions of Italy.