Accepted Paper:

Chest wall deformities and teenage dis-cooperation: patients struggle with their parents in Italy and Estonia  


Davide Ticchi (Tallinn University)

Paper short abstract:

Intimate conflicts in adolescence beget misunderstandings and disruptions which influence deformed teenagers who plan to undergo corrective surgery. Building up cooperative relationships with therapists, in this paper Estonian and Italian young patients unfold new strategies for overcoming breakdowns in communication with their parents.

Paper long abstract:

Looking closer at the lived experience of deformed youngsters, a variety of intimate conflicts shed light on stories otherwise left aside, due to a high degree of personal involvement and animosity. Thus, chest wall deformities (Pectus Excavatum, Pectus Carinatum, Poland syndrome) make us bump into disrupted collaborations of Italian and Estonian youngsters seeking the necessary willpower to overcome their parents’ resistance. In particular medical anthropology outlines further methods and skills which improve family cohesion, building up in-depth relationships with both parents and patients. Whether suffered or serene, indeed, breakdowns in deformed adolescences give us a chance to find fresh therapeutic solutions that reassert the primacy of cooperation between them. Attitudes which bracket and reshape previous understandings through counselling sessions, aimed to support youngsters who dream to get rid of their stigma. Although chest wall deformities require a considerable carefulness throughout the evaluation of physical wellbeing, indeed, the time for narrating teenagers’ lived experience is a priority of the clinical assessment. To this purpose, in the paper accounts of therapists and patients spotlight both successful and disastrous collaborations which revolve around issues of body image disturbance.

Panel P110
From cracks to breakdown: disruption in cooperation