Illness Representations, Coping, and Psychosocial Adjustment: Greek-Speaking Males’ Experience of Chronic Illness

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Alexiou, Stan (2015) Illness Representations, Coping, and Psychosocial Adjustment: Greek-Speaking Males’ Experience of Chronic Illness. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


Illness representations relating to the experience of chronic illness may directly influence health and illness behaviour (coping methods), as well as having an indirect influence on psychosocial adjustment to chronic illness. Chronic illness is more than a medical condition: it is a subjective experience occurring against a backdrop of individual, social, and cultural influences that impact on the illness experience. The dynamic framework of the Common Sense Model (CSM) of health and illness makes this model particularly useful for understanding health and illness behaviours, including social and cultural factors that impact on these behaviours. The influence of illness representations on health and illness behaviours, and the processes and outcomes relating to psychosocial adjustment to chronic illness are particularly important when viewed from the perspective of culturally-diverse groups, such as the elderly Greek-speaking male participants in this study. In this thesis, participants’ illness representations and coping methods for their chronic illness are explored, along with the processes and outcomes associated with their psychosocial adjustment to chronic illness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and thematic analysis identified themes relevant to the CSM. These showed how participants’ responses to their chronic illness were influenced by their personal experiences and contextual factors. Findings also identified additional themes not directly related to the CSM, revealing how participants’ adjustment to their chronic illness was influenced by individual, psychosocial, and cultural factors. Implications of the study’s findings include the importance for health care professionals to consider the subjective meanings of elderly male individuals’ chronic illness experience, including wider social and cultural influences on their chronic illness experience, as a way of informing and establishing appropriate health care practices.

Additional Information

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1103 Clinical Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords subjective experience of illness, self-regulation, self-management, psychosocial adjustment, social influences, patients, social support, social interaction, Greek culture, Greek community, Greeks, Australia
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