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9 - Being ill

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Antonia C. Lyons
Affiliation:
Massey University, Auckland
Kerry Chamberlain
Affiliation:
Massey University, Auckland
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Summary

[B]ecoming ill (especially chronically, or seriously ill) colours people's lives. The use of the word ‘colours’ refers to the way that everyday life is reflected through either the knowledge that one is ill, or the way that ordinary actions are affected by bodily limitations … Illness, once given form by the social realm that it metaphorically colours, can then inflect other domains of experience with new meaning. In turn, they provide another reflection upon the illness situation, so that it, too, is once more re-figured … Because it is always reflected through social realms, and because the reflection of these realms, one against the other, is the way in which individuals display their worth and competence, then being ill is not a specific state, but an inflection of the whole of the person's being.

(Radley, 1999a, pp. 19–22)

Learning objectives

The aim of this chapter is to consider the experience of illness, including factors that are important in adjusting to and recovering from illness, approaches taken to researching and theorising being ill, ways in which illness is presented, and issues involved in caring for ill people. By the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • describe the extent of illness in contemporary Western society;

  • critically evaluate research on coping with illness;

  • outline the various ways in which people with illness find support;

  • discuss how illness can have positive as well as negative effects;

  • outline arguments for and against considering illness as a crisis requiring adjustment;

  • explain what is meant by quality of life and discuss its value in research on illness;

  • […]

Type
Chapter
Information
Health Psychology
A Critical Introduction
, pp. 279 - 318
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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References

Bury, M. (2001). Illness narratives: Fact or fiction?Sociology of Health and Illness, 23, 263–85. A good general article that provides a detailed discussion of narratives in relation to illness, outlining a framework for narrative accounts, a discussion of the value of each, methodological issues in narrative analysis and critiques of the approach.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Radley, A. (1994). Making sense of illness: the social psychology of health and disease. London: Sage. Although older, this book has certainly not dated and it provides an excellent chapter on chronic illness. It is one of the very few health psychology texts to address illness from a similar perspective to the present chapter.Google Scholar
Rapley, M. (2003). Quality of life research: a critical introduction. London: Sage. A review of the field that offers a good overview and a strong critical perspective, examining what quality of life means and how it is assessed, with a specific chapter exploring quality of life as a psychological object. This book raises many issues and problems relevant to quality of life as a concept and its use in research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suls, J., & Wallston, K. (eds.) (2003). Social psychological foundations of health and illness. Malden, MA: Blackwell. An edited book containing a number of chapters that provide an up-to-date review of theory and research on adaptation to illness from a traditional health psychology perspective.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  • Being ill
  • Antonia C. Lyons, Massey University, Auckland, Kerry Chamberlain, Massey University, Auckland
  • Book: Health Psychology
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511807985.010
Available formats
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  • Being ill
  • Antonia C. Lyons, Massey University, Auckland, Kerry Chamberlain, Massey University, Auckland
  • Book: Health Psychology
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511807985.010
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Being ill
  • Antonia C. Lyons, Massey University, Auckland, Kerry Chamberlain, Massey University, Auckland
  • Book: Health Psychology
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511807985.010
Available formats
×