Thinking positively about chronic illness: An exploration of optimism, illness perceptions and well-being in patients with Parkinson's disease

Hurt, C. S., Burn, D. J., Hindle, J. V., Samuel, M., Wilson, K. C. & Brown, R. G. (2014). Thinking positively about chronic illness: An exploration of optimism, illness perceptions and well-being in patients with Parkinson's disease. British Journal of Health Psychology, 19(2), pp. 363-379. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12043

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Abstract

Objectives: Holding positive beliefs about illness and having an optimistic outlook has been associated with increased well-being across a range of health conditions. However research has indicated that being very optimistic may not actually be beneficial and holding a realistic attitude is more adaptive in some forms of chronic illness, e.g. Parkinson's disease (PD). The present study aimed to explore the nature of relationships between illness perceptions, optimism and well-being; specifically whether a linear or non-linear relationship best described the data. Additionally the proposed moderating effect of optimism on the relationship between illness perceptions and well-being was tested.

Design: 109 participants with idiopathic PD completed questionnaire measures of illness perception, optimism, mood and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Methods: Multiple regression analyses were used to explore relationships between illness perceptions, optimism, mood and HRQoL. The potential curvilinear effects of illness perceptions and optimism were modelled using squared variables and linear and quadratic curve estimation.

Results: Holding positive illness perceptions predicted better well-being. Some evidence for a non-linear relationship between optimism and mood was found. Optimism had a significant moderating effect on the relationship between specific illness perceptions and outcome.

Conclusions: Optimism appears to provide protection against some negative perceptions of illness and was associated with better mood and HRQoL. The findings indicate which specific illness perceptions may be beneficial targets for therapy. Therapeutic interventions should focus on enhancing positive perceptions of PD but potentially more importantly general optimistic attitude to maximise wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted version of the following article: Hurt, CS, Burn, DJ, Hindle, J, Samuel, M, Wilson, K & Brown, RG (2014). Thinking positively about chronic illness: An exploration of optimism, illness perceptions and well-being in patients with Parkinson's disease.. Br J Health Psychol, 19(2), pp. 363-379, which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjhp.12043.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Optimism, illness perceptions, depression, anxiety, quality of life, Parkinson’s disease
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Research Unit
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/3589

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