The mapping of emotions in a respiratory illness: transferability of illness experience from Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension to COVID-19

Slusarek, Emily, Martin, Vanessa, Sarker, Tasmie, McCarthy, Mary A., Granton, John, Tan, Adrienne, and Lo, Chris (2021) The mapping of emotions in a respiratory illness: transferability of illness experience from Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension to COVID-19. Journal of Concurrent Disorders. (In Press)

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Abstract

Objectives: Covid-19 poses an existential threat that has increased death anxiety at the individual and societal levels. In prior work, we have examined existential conversations in patients with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), an incurable respiratory disease with symptom overlap. In this mixed method study, we analyse the emotional qualities of these conversations in PAH. By understanding the emotions in PAH, we may learn something about the feelings that can also be evoked in people coping with Covid-19.

Methods: We interviewed 30 PAH patients from 2016-2018 about the meaning and impact of illness on their lives. We analysed transcripts and audio recordings for heightened emotional moments and categorised the emotional responses and topics that were discussed. A multiple correspondence analysis was conducted to identify the associations between emotions and topics. Clini

cal illustrations are provided for interpretation. Results: Mean age and illness duration was 52 and 6 years, and 77% were female. Participants had a mean of 5 emotional moments, each lasting on average 20 seconds. Half occurred in the first 20 minutes. Coping with diagnosis and the healthcare system was accompanied by feelings of shock and unfairness; relational issues involving close others evoked complicated feelings of isolation, worthlessness, and self-blame; and the experience of physical limitations and mortality salience elicited much anger and fear.

Conclusion: People confronted by the threat of mortality from disease may have powerful feelings that they would benefit from sharing. These emotions are readily expressed because opportunities to discuss them are rare. Psychoeducation about illness experiences may help healthy people to relate to the medically ill and destigmatise the discussion of illness-related concerns. Research on coping with existential distress may be applied to the illness experience of Covid-19.

Item ID: 65940
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2562-7546
Copyright Information: Copyright: © 2020 Slusarek, E., Martin, V., Sarker, T., McCarthy, M.A., Granton, J., Tan, A. & Lo, C. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2021 03:00
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320221 Psychiatry (incl. psychotherapy) @ 33%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 34%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320299 Clinical sciences not elsewhere classified @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 50%
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