Life with Chronic Illness: Social and Psychological Dimensions

By Ariela Royer | Go to book overview

Preface

When people become ill, the physical symptoms and medical aspects are the first and most important concerns that have to be dealt with. However, once symptoms are diagnosed, brought under control, acute crises averted, and necessary medical regimens established, other concerns related to living with long-term illness emerge as important concerns to the sufferers. Concerns arise such as: Am I going to be able to keep my job?; How am I going to pay my medical bills, or any of my bills, for that matter?; What will happen to my marriage, or to my relationships?; Will I be able to participate in valued social activi- ties?; and other similar concerns, as expressed by all the people I interviewed.

This book was conceived out of my interest in the study of health and illness, particularly of illness behavior. Specifically, I wanted to explore what it is like to have a chronic-that is, long-term-and incurable illness in our society and how people experience and attempt to control such an illness in their everyday lives. Thus, the general question that guided my research was, What is it like to live with a long-term chronic illness in this society? I had other questions as well: How do chronically ill persons define, explain, and attribute their illness? How do they learn to interpret and assess changes in their condition? What kinds of efforts (successful or unsuccessful) do they make to maintain some control over and keep ahead of their

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