Siektegedrag by 'n groep persone met 'n lewensbedreigende siekte
De Bruyn, Frans Roelf Petrus
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In this study the illness behaviour of people with a life threatening illness was described and the relationship between stress, affect and illness behaviour investigated. An overview of the literature shows that the illness behaviour patients exhibit is and should be an important consideration in the diagnosis of illness and treatment of patients. This is evident in reports of a high amount of ill people who do not receive treatment and the high amount of patients who seek treatment for minor ailments. It is further evident in the light of findings that illness behaviour does not always accurately represent the physical disfunction and that it may even be present in the absence of a physical disfunction. The paucity of research on the illness behaviour of specific patient groups, and of information on the relative effects of physical versus psychological factors on illness behaviour, indicate a void in the literature. The present study investigates this relationship in a group of patients with a life threatening illness. In the first phase of the study 15 kidney transplant patients were compared to themselves, under normal conditions and conditions of stress, regarding affect, the experiencing of stress and the reporting of physical symptoms. In the second phase of the study 15 kidney transplant patients were compared to 15 patients with acute but minor ailments regarding the reporting of physical symptoms, affect, the experiencing of stress and the psychosocial impact of the illness. The results indicate that psychopathology does not exist significantly in the transplant group, denial plays an important part in coping with the transplant, the transplant group does not have a poor quality of life, and the transplant group reacts with illness behaviour under conditions of stress. It was concluded that the findings have important implications for the treatment of transplant patients.