David J. Kallen


This article describes the uses of sociological theory and knowledge in the design and operation of an in-hospital program for the care of physically ill and injured adolescents. The central tasks of adolescence — resolution of the conflict between autonomy and dependency, the development of intimacy and competence, the ability to take on adult roles, and the development of the self — may be hampered by a total institution which depersonalizes patients and fosters dependency. The development of normative structures which encourage autonomy, continuity of role evelopment, appropriate levels of intimacy, and continued development of the self are encouraged by appropriate modifications of usual hospital routine. Normative support for these modifications is developed through educational programs for house staff (residents and interns), nurses, and others involved in the program. While the article emphasizes sociological concerns, the success of the program depends on contributions from an interdisciplinary team drawn from medicine, nursing, social work, and sociology.

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