Health Science Journal

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Dynamic Balancing in Illness Coping: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis on the Lived Experience of Chinese Patients with Psoriasis

Chan, Celia Hoi Yan, Yao, Sylvia Hong, Fung, Yat Lui, Ji, Xiaowen, and Chan, Cecilia Lai Wan

Psoriasis is a genetic, chronic and inflammatory skin disease characterized by itchiness and pain. Although it is not considered to be life-threating, its incurable nature implies life-long treatment with the potential to impact the physical, psychological, emotional and social dimensions of sufferers’ lives Twelve patients with psoriasis were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview that examined their illness experience in terms of the onset of disease, its impact on their daily life, the treatment process and how they coped with the challenges they faced. Data were examined by utilizing interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three meta-themes emerged as most representative of patients’ experiences: • Surviving the chronicity of the disease, • Accepting the disease and illness experience as part of their life, • Thriving with the new assumptive world. Major themes have been identified resulting in the advancement of a novel conceptual model, “Dynamic Balancing in Illness Coping” that takes account of the importance of effective coping in addressing the biopsycho- social distress arising from psoriasis. The model is considered to provide an alternative perspective to existing stage models in understanding illness experience.