Spirituality in adolescent patients
Adolescence, the transition between childhood and adulthood, represents a time of rapid biological, neurocognitive, and psychosocial changes. These changes have important implications for the development and evolution of adolescent spirituality, particularly for adolescents with chronic or life-limiting illnesses. To contribute positively to adolescent spiritual formation, palliative care teams benefit from understanding the normative changes expected to occur during adolescence. This paper provides a narrative review of adolescent spirituality while recognizing the role of religious, familial, and cultural influences on spiritual development during the teenage years. By giving explicit attention to the contextual norms surrounding adolescence and still recognizing each adolescent-aged patient as unique, palliative care teams can help adolescents transition toward meaningful and sustainable spiritual growth. This paper reviews the clinical and research implications relevant to integrating adolescent spiritual health as part of comprehensive palliative care.