The experience of osteoarthritis in older adults

Alwan, Claire (2000). The experience of osteoarthritis in older adults. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e29b

Abstract

Aims:

This study aims to explore the experience of osteoarthritis (OA) in older adults, drawing on concepts from the literature on chronic illness including social-cognition models (e.g. Self-Regulatory Model) and cognitive concepts (e.g. self-schema).

Design and Participants:

A qualitative research design and Phenomenological Interpretative Analysis Methodology were used. Sixteen participants were interviewed. Ten were recruited from an orthopaedic surgical waiting list source and six from a GP source: age ranged from 67 to 79 years, and history of osteoarthritis ranged from one to 35 years.

Measures:

A semi-structured interview schedule was designed and piloted, based on the research literature.

Results:

Analysis identified the following themes: Demands of OA (pain, impact on activity, and impact on mood); Perceptions ofOA (onset/deterioration, cause, label, seriousness, prognosis); Strategies to manage OA (use of health services, changes in behaviour, psychological strategies, appraisal of strategies); Perception of Self (compared to past/future/others) and Contextual factors (age, co-morbidity, waiting list). Links between themes were reciprocal, and a tentative model ofOA is presented.

Implications:

A comprehensive model of the experience of chronic illness could provide a framework to guide interventions for direct clinical interventions (e.g. adjustment to chronic illness, pain management, identification of psychological comorbidity) and indirect interventions (e.g. consultancy with other health professionals).

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