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The psychosocial implications of social distancing for people with COPD: some exploratory issues facing a uniquely marginalised group during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoeli, H. ORCID: 0000-0001-5505-9366 (2021). The psychosocial implications of social distancing for people with COPD: some exploratory issues facing a uniquely marginalised group during the COVID-19 pandemic.. Social Theory & Health, 19, pp. 298-307. doi: 10.1057/s41285-021-00166-0


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an illness associated with intersectional poverty and stigma in old age; people with COPD are susceptible to anxiety, loneliness and isolation. People with COPD who contract COVID-19 are at high risk of serious complications, intensive medical needs and death and are, therefore, required to socially distance particularly assiduously. This paper offers an embodied phenomenological analysis of the emerging theoretical literature exploring the impact of social distancing upon people with COPD. Firstly, people with COPD are aware of how respiratory illness feels, are anxious about COVID-19 and afraid of being denied care. Future research might consider how people with COPD may be susceptible to "coronaphobia" and mental health consequences of the pandemic. Secondly, COPD tends to affect older people within the most intersectionally marginalised socioeconomic groups. Future research should remain mindful that people with COPD may be among the most lonely and least able to access health and social care services online than others. Thirdly, pandemics are known to intensify pre-existing social stigmas. Researchers and practitioners alike should be conscious that people with COPD may become increasingly stigmatised, especially those from intersectionally disadvantaged minorities.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: COPD, COVID-19, Health inequalities, Intersectionality, Racism, Stigma
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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