Beyond illness perception: the effects of psychological flexibility when coping with a chronic medical condition

Gil Zukerman, Maya Maor, Tamar Reichard, Shulamit Ben-Itzhak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several factors have been suggested to affect well-being among patients with a Chronic Medical Condition (CMC). Using self-report questionnaires, the effects of Illness Cognitions (IC) and Psychological Flexibility (PF) on well-being (Subjective Happiness) was explored in two groups of patients at a large medical center in Tel Aviv, Israel. This included 79 patients with psoriasis and 71 patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), the former representing moderate, and the latter severe, chronic medical conditions. Significant correlations between IC and PF, and well-being, were observed. In regression analyses, helplessness (an IC factor) and perceiving oneself as flexible (a PF factor) significantly contributed to well-being. Perceiving oneself as open and innovative (another PF factor) was associated with higher levels of well-being only among those with ESRD. This suggests that well-being is associated with both a specific cognitive inference regarding one’s medical condition (IC) and a general attitude about change (PF). Additionally, it appears that the association between PF and well-being changes across different CMCs, possibly depending on the CMC severity. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1795-1802
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Volume28
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Psychological adaptation
  • chronic disease
  • chronic kidney failure
  • illness cognition
  • psoriasis

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