Adhering to dietary recommendations and nutritional supplements to deter inadequate absorption of nutrients the development of malnutrition in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is critical, given that nutritional status is significantly related to health outcomes (e.g., lung functioning) and longevity. Yet, non-adherence to the CF care regimen, including nutritional recommendations, is high in adolescents, in particular. Though behavioral interventions have been very effective in improving nutritional intake in young children with CF, little is known about what factors are associated with nutritional non-adherence in adolescents with CF. With increased independence and control over dietary intake, adolescents likely have adherence challenges that are different than their younger counterparts. Therefore, using a [convergent mixed methods design], the overall goal of this study is to identify factors related to adherence to nutritional recommendations in adolescents with CF and to obtain rich qualitative data from key stakeholders (i.e., adolescents & dietitians) regarding barriers to nutritional adherence and challenges in working together in clinic to improve it. We will apply an organizing framework, the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behavior (COM-B) model, to interpret our findings and identify specific factors necessary for behavior change in future interventions. This study is innovative, as no other behavioral research has focused on understanding adolescent-specific challenges to nutritional adherence in the CF care regimen. [A total of 132 adolescents (ages 12-18) will be recruited from 5 CF centers across the US to obtain a sample of at least 110 adolescents after possible attrition].
For Specific Aim 1, adolescents will complete surveys measuring a range of potential factors associated with adherence, as well as 2 random days of 24-hour diet recall to indirectly assess nutritional adherence through the CF-INTAKE measure (daily caloric intake, fat grams, enzyme use, number of meals & snacks). Regression analyses will examine which factors significantly predict nutritional adherence scores.
For Specific Aim 2, 20 adolescents will be randomly selected from the larger sample to provide in-depth stakeholder perspectives on the difficulties they experience around nutritional adherence. Six dietitians (from our 5 recruitment sites) also will take part in [focus groups] to share their perspective on challenges they experience in communicating with and supporting adolescents on nutritional adherence. Qualitative results will be integrated with quantitative findings for final analysis [using a comparison joint display table]. Results from this NRSA project are expected to provide better understanding of behavioral determinants for adolescent nutritional non-adherence so that a developmentally-sensitive, yet practical, clinic-based adherence promotion intervention can be developed to target these factors in the future. ! !

Public Health Relevance

Improving nutritional status through a specific diet and nutritional supplements is a key part of cystic fibrosis management; yet, non-adherence is high for adolescents and little is known about the challenges they experience and factors that are predictive of non-adherence. This project will make a significant and novel public health impact, as it will be the first to identify a range of underlying factors that contribute to nutritional adherence specifically in adolescents with CF. By identifying determinants of change associated with adolescent adherence to their CF nutritional regimen, researchers will be able to design developmentally sensitive, practical, and effective adherence promotion interventions in the future for this at-risk group.! ! !

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Tigno, Xenia
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West Virginia University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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