Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding the experience of adults coping with Chagas disease: A grounded theory study
by Betancourt, Nathalia, Psy.D., Adler School of Professional Psychology, 2014, 121; 3581662
Abstract (Summary)

The present investigation was developed with the purpose of identifying how the social determinants of health impact individuals' ability to cope with Chagas disease. Identifying coping methods was also a goal of this investigation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 Latino patients between the ages of 30 and 65 who were being treated for Chagas disease at a university affiliated medical center.

The results of this investigation revealed that individuals infected with Chagas disease are impacted by structural, intermediary, and sociopolitical aspects that affect their living, and working conditions, and make more difficult for them to cope with their illness. Although, concerned professionals are addressing some of these social barriers, there are still many difficulties faced by the population due to lack of attention to the illness and the conditions that cause inequalities in society. Despite the social barriers that individuals with Chagas face, they still thrive by finding ways to cope with their particular situations.

Findings from the study revealed coping strategies used by the participants, some of these include relying on family for support, staying active, believing in God, remaining optimistic, and minimizing or using denial.

From the investigation, several recommendations for practitioners, advocates, and policy makers were developed, as well as recommendations for future studies. Some of the major recommendations are increasing awareness about the illness among policy makers and advocates in order to fully attend to the needs of the population. This would lead to doing more research, investing in the development of better drugs, and providing support to address some of the social needs of the people infected so they can cope better with the illness. Some of the recommendations for future research include increasing the sample size in order to investigate the impact of demographic variables as well as their particular stage of the illness in their ability to cope, and assessing the impact of social determinants using quantitative research methods.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moore, Nataka
Commitee:
School: Adler School of Professional Psychology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Public health, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Chagas, Chronic illness, Coping, Latinos, Mental health
Publication Number: 3581662
ISBN: 978-1-321-31075-7
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