An exploration of illness representations in older age

Yennadiou, Haris

Clinical psychology
June 2013

Thesis or dissertation

© 2013 Haris Yennadiou. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The portfolio thesis is divided into three parts:

Part one is a systematic literature review exploring the literature in relation to illness representations and older people living with health conditions. A systematic search of three databases identified ten studies in the area. The findings of the studies are analysed using a qualitative method to identify what has been examined in the literature to date. Three themes were extracted from this method: ‘associations between the constructs of the common sense model of illness representations’, ‘coping and health outcomes’ and ‘variables associated with illness representations’. The findings are discussed in relation to research in chronic illness management, clinical implications and directions for future research.

Part two is an empirical paper that explores the experience of epilepsy in older age. The study employs an interpretative phenomenological analysis. The illness representation model is used as a framework (Leventhal, Nerenz, & Steele, 1984) for conducting semi-structured interviews. Ten older people with a diagnosis of epilepsy took part in the study. Three super-ordinate and eight subordinate themes emerged from the data. These themes are discussed in relation to clinical implications and the wider literature of epilepsy, health and ageing.

Part three consists of the appendices supporting the systematic literature review and the empirical paper. It also includes a reflective statement of the research process.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies, The University of Hull
Wolverson, Emma
Qualification level
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