Illness appraisals and psychological morbidity in adults with non-specific abdominal pain

2019-11-25T12:02:19Z (GMT) by Fiona French
Enhancing quality of life and managing symptoms in the community has become a central focus in the care of long-term conditions. A large proportion of long-term health conditions are encompassed by unexplained symptoms, such as non-specific abdominal pain (NSAP). Individuals with NSAP are more likely to experience mental health difficulties. Understanding how patients may differ in the way they understand their illness may be the first step to contribute to interventions that focus on improving the individual and societal burden for this patient population.
Literature Review:
The association of metacognitions on health outcomes was reviewed within the long-term health care population. Eight quantitative papers were analysed and revealed a strong association between metacognitions and a range of physical health conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain and Parkinson’s disease. Beliefs about the need to control thoughts and beliefs about the uncontrollability of the illness were significantly associated with long-term health conditions.
Empirical Report:
This study explored the link between illness appraisals and psychological morbidity between three groups of patients: those with NSAP, those with an organic abdominal diagnosis, and a control group. The overall sample consisted of 64 participants and analysed differences between demographic characteristics, illness appraisals, psychological morbidity, metacognitions and pain using a number of psychometrics. Results revealed a higher proportion of young females with NSAP, with significantly lower scores on the positive subscale of illness appraisals observed in comparison to those with an organic condition. Correlational analysis also showed significant associations between depression scores and the negative subscale of illness appraisals, as well as anxiety scores and negative metacognitions.

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