Illness perceptions and coping in physical health conditions: A meta-analysis

Martin Dempster, Doris Howell, Noleen K McCorry
Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2015, 79 (6): 506-13

OBJECTIVE: There is a considerable body of research linking elements of Leventhal's Common Sense Model (CSM) to emotional well-being/distress outcomes among people with physical illness. The present study aims to consolidate this literature and examine the evidence for the role of coping strategies within this literature.

METHODS: A systematic review was conducted where the outcomes of interest were: depression, anxiety and quality of life. A total of 1050 articles were identified and 31 articles were considered eligible to be included in the review.

RESULTS: Across a range of illnesses, perceptions of consequences of the illness and emotional representations were consistently the illness perceptions with the strongest relationship with the outcomes. Coping variables tend to be stronger predictors of outcomes than the illness perception variables. The evidence for the mediating effect of coping was inconsistent.

CONCLUSIONS: Illness perceptions and coping have an important role to play in the explanation of distress outcomes across a range of physical health conditions. However, some clarity about the theoretical position of coping in relation to illness perceptions, and further longitudinal work is needed if we are to apply this information to the design of interventions for the improvement of psychological health among people with physical health conditions.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"