A qualitative examination of the experience of 'depression' in hospitalized medically ill patients

Clarke, David M., Cook, Kay, Coleman, John and Smith, Graeme C. 2006, A qualitative examination of the experience of 'depression' in hospitalized medically ill patients, Psychopathology : international journal of descriptive and experimental psychopathology, phenomenology and psychatrric diagnosis, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 303-312.

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Title A qualitative examination of the experience of 'depression' in hospitalized medically ill patients
Author(s) Clarke, David M.
Cook, Kay
Coleman, John
Smith, Graeme C.
Journal name Psychopathology : international journal of descriptive and experimental psychopathology, phenomenology and psychatrric diagnosis
Volume number 39
Issue number 6
Start page 303
End page 312
Publisher S. Karger AG
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publication date 2006
ISSN 0254-4962
1423-033X
Keyword(s) depression
demoralization
adjustment reaction
medically ill
Summary Background: Research into depression in the medically ill has progressed without sufficient attention being given to the validity, in this group, of the taxonomic categories. We aimed to describe, using qualitative interviews, the experience of 'being depressed', separating experiences that are unique to depression from experiences that are common to being ill and in hospital.
Method: Forty-nine patients hospitalized for medical illness underwent a 30-min interview in which they were asked to 'Describe how you have been unwell and, in particular, how that has made you feel.' From the transcripts, a 'folk' taxonomy was constructed using a phenomenological framework involving four steps: frame elicitation to identify the important themes, componential analysis to systematically cluster the attributes into domains, a comparison of the experiences of patients screening depressed and  not-depressed, and a theoretical analysis comparing the resulting taxonomy with currently used theoretical constructs.
Results: Experiences common to all patients were being in hospital, being ill or in pain, adjusting to not being able to do things, and having time to think. In addition, all participants described being depressed, down or sad. Patients who were identified by screening as being depressed described unique experiences of depression, which included 'having to think about things' (a forceful intrusive thinking), 'not being able to sleep', 'having to rely on others', 'being a burden' to others (with associated shame and guilt), feelings of 'not getting better' and 'feeling like giving up'. Theoretical analysis suggested that this experience of depression fitted well with the concept of demoralization described by Jerome Frank.
Conclusions: Demoralization, which involves feelings of being unable to cope, helplessness, hopelessness and diminished personal esteem, characterizes much of the depression seen in hospitalized medically ill patients
Language eng
Field of Research 111714 Mental Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006 S. Karger AG, Basel
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008994

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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