Title

What's in a Name? Adjustment to Functional Somatic Syndromes?

Year

2010

Season

Fall

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine illness representations and adjustment in participants with functional somatic syndromes (FSS), medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), and conventional disease (CD). Participants (n = 276) experiencing persistent physical symptoms, and diagnosed with either a CD, a FSS, or having MUS completed an online survey. The results of this study suggest that individuals' beliefs about their illness significantly influences their adjustment. Identity and consequences were the most important predictors of adjustment. Participants who believed more symptoms were associated with their illness and that their illness held serious consequences were more likely to experience lower social functioning and vitality. The results of this study also suggest that the association of illness representations with outcomes is not mediated by coping procedures nor by illness category or label. This study contributes greatly to the research of illness representations as no known research has compared the illness representations of CD, FSS, and MUS participants.

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