Living a ‘normal’ life: young people coping with thalassaemia major or sickle cell disorder
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This qualitative paper explores the strategies and resources young people use to cope with sickle cell disorder or thalassaemia major, two haemoglobin disorders with serious implications for health and survival. By focusing on coping strategies, we explore how young people attempt to take control over their lives. The respondents, largely of South Asian and African Caribbean origin, aged between 10 and 19 years, valued maintaining a ‘normal’ life and struggled to achieve this normalcy. Strategies were employed to minimise diﬀerence from peers but these strategies remained vulnerable. Coping occurred in a dynamic space, involving negotiation and engagement with both personal and structural factors. Threats to normalcy did not always reside in the condition; life transitions, changes in social relationships and racist, disablist or sexist marginalisation also threatened coping strategies. # 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.