Self-regulation in Barth syndrome: a qualitative perspective of adolescents, adults and parents in the U.K. Self-regulation in Barth Syndrome

Aidan J Searle*, Georgia Herbert, Lucy S Dabner, Colin G Steward, Michaela K Damin, Guido E Pieles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Barth syndrome (BS) is a life-threatening genetic disease caused by abnormal lipids in the mitochondria of cells and mostly affects young males. Those living with BS have severe exercise intolerance, lethargy and fatigue due to muscle disease which affect their daily life. Previous research suggests a need for qualitative exploration of self-regulation in BS and the inter-personal processes at play in family life. Therefore this study aimed to explore self-regulation and coping strategies and inter-personal responses in individuals and families affected by Barth syndrome. A multi-perspective qualitative study based on face to face, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 11 participants (9-27 years, mean 15 years) with BS and/or their parents participating in a randomised double-blind clinical drug trial (CARDIOMAN). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and managed in NVivo prior to conducting a thematic analysis (AS and GH).

Results: Four key themes were identified: diagnosis and treatment, social support, identity and social integration, symptoms and self-regulation. The present findings suggest that self-regulation and coping in boys with BS was interpersonal and contingent on parental awareness such that parents were aware that their child had a limited energy reserve and that had to be managed due to the implications of fatigue for daily living.

Conclusion: The findings support previous quantitative work demonstrating that children and parents tend to share a coherent view of BS. However, there is a need for greater awareness from others within the wider context of social and employment networks to minimise adverse implications for future life choices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number404
Number of pages10
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2021


  • Barth syndrome
  • Male
  • Self-regulation
  • qualitative comparative analysis


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