Self-compassion and coping in chronic illness groups

Longworth, Melissa and Eccles, Fiona and Curvis, Will and Gray, Victoria (2020) Self-compassion and coping in chronic illness groups. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The aim of this research was to explore self-compassion and its associations with psychological outcomes and coping, in both general and specific chronic illness groups. In chapter 1, quantitative research that explored the relationships between self-compassion and outcomes of psychological distress (i.e. depression, anxiety and/or stress) and coping was synthesised. This included adult chronic illness populations samples. To identify relevant literature, four academic databases were systematically searched. The findings of the review highlighted self-compassion consistently correlated with depression, anxiety and stress, as well as adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies. It also explained unique variance across studies. Subtle differences were observed across conditions and samples in the strength of relationships, but results overall highlight the need for interventions developed to enhance self-compassion in chronic illness groups. In chapter 2, a qualitative research study explored coping and self-compassion in a sample of adolescents living with epilepsy. Adolescents were invited to take part in interviews, and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to develop themes from the narratives of five adolescents. Three superordinate themes were constructed: (i) Learning about my condition and my experiences: “Getting answers and people explaining things…it makes massive lifesaving differences”, (ii) Dealing with the thought takeover: “I try not to think on it to move on” and (iii) Being in an accepting bubble: “I know that people have got my back”. These findings indicate how coping and self-compassion are situated within the sample, and what interventions might support how young people manage an unpredictable, individual condition like epilepsy. In chapter 3, a critical appraisal was conducted to outline the main findings, reflections around the key decisions, the study process and personal considerations noted throughout.

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Thesis (PhD)
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30 Sep 2020 16:45
Last Modified:
28 Feb 2024 00:25