Illness representations and coping in older adults with joint pain related to osteoarthritis

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Horntvedt, Tracy K.
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Thesis (M.S.)
School of Nursing
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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease, and the degenerative effects of OA on joint cartilage are associated with significant pain. Past research indicates that individuals form sets of beliefs about bodily sensations and illnesses that impact coping responses. One model for investigating these beliefs is Leventhal's Self-Regulation Model that proposes that illness beliefs, called representations, are composed of cognitive and emotional components that motivate individuals to engage in self-regulating coping responses. The purpose of this study is to: (a) examine the predictive relationship of illness representations and coping responses of older adults with OA, and (b) examine the differences in coping responses of two groups of older adults with OA, one group with severe joint pain, and one group with mild joint pain.A sample of 50 individuals diagnosed with OA will be recruited from five primary care clinics. Data will be collected at the clinic at the time of visit. A predictive research design will be utilized. Instrumentation includes the revised Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS2), the revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R), and the Jalowiec Coping Scale (JCS). Participants will be informed in writing of the purpose of the study and confirmation of anonymity prior to data collection. Permission will be obtained from Ball State University and participating clinics. Understanding the perceptions that influence pain relief-seeking behaviors is the foundation for designing effective nursing interventions for pain management.