The Kidney Foundation of Canada

Marie Leblond 

Marie Leblond

Université de Montréal, Quebec
Supervisor: Dr. Marie Achille

Identity among transplant recipient teens and parental roles in the context of living donation from a parent.

[Identity development of adolescents who received a kidney transplant and the related parental roles in the context of parental living donation]

2017-2019:  $58,000  |  Allied Health Doctoral Fellowships |  Category: Transplantation


Marie Leblond has been a PhD candidate at the Université de Montréal (research and treatment in clinical psychology) since 2014. Ms. Leblond completed her bachelor’s at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and the Institut René Descartes (Paris V), where she developed research projects on the physical and psychological health of French teens. Under the supervision of Dr. Marie Achille, Ms. Leblond has been drafting her doctoral thesis on identity development among teens who receive a kidney transplant and on parenting practices in situations where the parent is a living donor. She works in collaboration with Montreal’s Hôpital Sainte-Justine and principal investigator, Dr. Marie-José Clermont, as well as Vancouver’s BC Children’s Hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Tom Blydt-Hansen. The research project’s preliminary findings have been presented at scientific conferences held by the Canadian Society of Transplantation (2015/2016/2017) and the International Pediatric Transplant Association (2017). Ms. Leblond won the award for the subject that sparked the greatest interest among professionals working with transplant recipient children and teens.

Thanks to funding from The Kidney Foundation of Canada through its Allied Health Doctoral Fellowship, Ms. Leblond is able collect the data required for her thesis. She is conducting interviews with young patients and their parents in Montreal and Vancouver with the goal of describing and better understanding their experience in relation to living donation from a parent. The project’s final results will be presented to the teams involved in 2018-2019, and may lead to the adaptation of current practices and a better understanding of parent-donor and teen-recipient dyads.

Lay Summary

Adolescence is a period of development that is characterized by rapid growth and change. It is during this period that new issues surface, including identity development, considered as the leading issue of adolescence. Literature suggests that the question of identity development is intensified for teens living with a chronic disease since they must adapt not only to the challenges of normative development (ie of identity) but also to issues related to chronic illness and its associated treatments. In addition to forging their identities, teen organ transplant recipients face other issues, including parental overprotection, social adaptation challenges, the attitude towards the organ donor, the quest for autonomy, and identification with their peers. These issues influence the development of identity and self-acceptance in adolescence. Teen transplant recipients cite the definition of identity among the greatest challenges associated with their health condition. Parents play an active and participatory role in the development of their teen’s identity. In addition to assuming normal parenting roles, parents of children with a chronic illness must also take on the role of "caregiver". Family dynamics change in instances where a parent is an organ donor for his or her child. When the time comes to volunteer to act as a donor, some parents state that they don’t feel they have a choice and that they sometimes feel alone in their decision-making process.

Given that the disease and its associated treatments make it difficult for these teens to develop their identities, particularly in terms of their body image, autonomy and independence, and given that parents tend to be over-protective of their children and play a dual role as parents and donors, this thesis aims to describe and understand the development of identity among young people who have received a kidney transplant from a parent, and the role of the parent in the child’s identity development.