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Help-seeking and coping with the psychosocial burden of chronic hepatitis C: a qualitative study of patient, hepatologist, and counsellor perspectives

Stewart, Benjamin J., Mikocka-Walus, Antonina A., Harley, Hugh and Andrews, Jane M. 2012, Help-seeking and coping with the psychosocial burden of chronic hepatitis C: a qualitative study of patient, hepatologist, and counsellor perspectives, International journal of nursing studies, vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 560-569, doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2011.11.004.

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Title Help-seeking and coping with the psychosocial burden of chronic hepatitis C: a qualitative study of patient, hepatologist, and counsellor perspectives
Author(s) Stewart, Benjamin J.
Mikocka-Walus, Antonina A.ORCID iD for Mikocka-Walus, Antonina A. orcid.org/0000-0003-4864-3956
Harley, Hugh
Andrews, Jane M.
Journal name International journal of nursing studies
Volume number 49
Issue number 5
Start page 560
End page 569
Total pages 10
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2012-05
ISSN 0020-7489
1873-491X
Keyword(s) coping
doctor-patient relations
help seeking
hepatitis C
psychosocial
social support
Summary BACKGROUND: Chronic hepatitis C affects millions of people worldwide, may have significant physical consequences, and patients are also at increased risk of psychiatric morbidity. However, it is currently unknown how patients cope with, and seek help for the psychosocial issues which contribute to this psychiatric morbidity.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to qualitatively explore the biopsychosocial burden of chronic hepatitis C, patients' subsequent coping and help-seeking, and the patient-health professional relationship from the different perspectives of patients, hepatologists, and counsellors.

METHODS: Thirteen patients, five hepatologists, and two hepatitis C specific counsellors from South Australia participated in semi-structured interviews, which were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically.

RESULTS: All groups perceived chronic hepatitis C as a severe disease involving inextricably intertwined biological, psychological, and social impacts. Negative factors included the impact of diagnosis, stigmatisation, and often unwarranted fears regarding transmission and disease progression. The key positive influences reported across the groups involved information provision and access to informal and formal support. However, a number of barriers were noted to accessing this support, particularly stigmatisation. All respondents highlighted the importance of the patient-health professional relationship. This relationship was perceived to be enhanced by empathetic, compassionate professionals who provided comprehensive information in a sensitive and timely manner. Key negative influences on this relationship included discrimination or inappropriate treatment from mainstream health professionals, time constraints of doctors, patient non-attendance, and discordant views regarding treatment decisions.

CONCLUSIONS: Reducing the psychosocial impact of chronic hepatitis C requires targeted information provision for patients, the general public, and mainstream health services. This may increase patient education, reduce the extent and impact of stigmatisation, remove barriers to help-seeking, and improve the patient-health professional relationship.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2011.11.004
Field of Research 110307 Gastroenterology and Hepatology
111714 Mental Health
1110 Nursing
Socio Economic Objective 920105 Digestive System Disorders
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2011, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30090094

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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