Meaning-making and chronic illness : cognitive and narrative approaches

Part of : Hellenic journal of psychology ; Vol.5, No.2, 2008, pages 147-178

In this paper, we review literature regarding meaning-making and chronic illnessfrom two different perspectives: the cognitive perspective and the narrative. In the first section,we briefly discuss meaning and its connection to serious illness. In the second section,we discuss meaning and chronic illness from the cognitive perspective. First, we examinethe ways in which meaning-making has been conceptualized in the coping literature. Second,we present descriptive findings on the forms meaning-making takes when coping with achronic illness. Third, we review the sociodemographic and medical correlates of meaningmakingin the context of a chronic illness. Fourth, we present findings regarding the relationshipbetween meaning-making and adaptation. In the third section, we discuss meaningand chronic illness from the narrative perspective. More specifically, we discuss issues relatingto the temporal dimension in illness narratives, the biographical disruption and identityreconstruction associated with a chronic illness, the moral dimension of the illness experienceand, finally, the role of social context on illness narratives. In the last section, we discussthe similarities and differences between the two approaches and identify areas whereeach could be fruitfully informed by the other.
Subject (LC):
coping, chronic illness, illness narratives, meaning-making
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