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'It was all intertwined': Illness representations and self-management in patients with cancer and anxiety/depression

Richardson, EM ORCID: 0000-0001-5434-9652, Scott, JL ORCID: 0000-0002-6955-4015, Schuz, N ORCID: 0000-0001-9010-5487, Sanderson, Kristy ORCID: 0000-0002-3132-2745 and Schuz, B ORCID: 0000-0002-0801-498X 2017 , ''It was all intertwined': Illness representations and self-management in patients with cancer and anxiety/depression' , Psychology & Health, vol. 32, no. 9 , pp. 1082-1108 , doi:

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Objective: Cancer and anxiety/depression frequently co-occur, leading topoorer outcomes for these illnesses. However, the majority of existingresearch investigates how participants view single illnesses alone. This studyaimed to explore the content of individuals’ multimorbid representations andhow these relate to their coping behaviours and self-management strategies forcancer and anxiety/depression.Design: A semi-structured qualitative research design with theoretical thematicanalysis.Main Outcome Measures: Multimorbid illness representations, copingbehaviours, and self-management strategies.Results: In interviews with 21 participants multimorbid representations varied,three participants viewed cancer and anxiety/depression as unrelated, five participantswere uncertain about the relationship between cancer and anxiety/depression,and the majority of participants perceived cancer and anxiety/depression as related. This third group of participants often described relationshipsas causal, with representations having both positive and negative influenceson coping behaviours and self-management strategies. Representationswere shown to change over the course of the cancer experience, with fear ofcancer recurrence and the influence of participants’ most challenging illnessalso discussed.Conclusions: People hold multimorbid illness representations that can influenceself-management. An awareness of these representations by researchers,health professionals, and patients is important for the creation of future interventionsthat aim to improve and maintain patient wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Richardson, EM and Scott, JL and Schuz, N and Sanderson, Kristy and Schuz, B
Keywords: cancer, anxiety, depression, multimorbidity, illness representations
Journal or Publication Title: Psychology & Health
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
ISSN: 0887-0446
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2017 Informa UK

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