This paper surveys some of the psychoanalytic and psychosomatic literature which comments on the developmental aspects of adolescence and on the impact of bodily illness. Special attention is paid to the influence of debilitation on an adolescent patient's self-esteem and ego-ideal formation. It is suggested that the encouragement of self-care, the facilitation of the appropriate use of signal anxiety, anticipatory mourning and/or denial, as well as education in adaptive skills, are specific measures which are psychologically felicitous for the care of physically ill adolescents.

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