Loss of resources and demoralization in the chronically ill
Objective: The study examined whether the association between the severity of physical symptoms and demoralization is mediated by loss of resources in individuals with chronic conditions including conventional diagnoses, functional somatic syndromes, and medically unexplained symptoms. Method: This cross-sectional study evaluated N = 194 patients (mean age = 46, 83.5% female) who reported at least 3 months of persistent physical symptoms using the following self-report instruments: PHQ-15 (modified), Loss of Resources Inventory, Psychosocial Questionnaire – Demoralization Subscale, and PHQ-8. The mediation hypothesis was tested by multiple regression analyses controlling for age, race, employment status, income, educational attainment, and depression. Results: Participants experienced M = 9.3 out of 16 possible health-related losses (SD = 4.4). Average to severe demoralization scores were indicated by 59.1% of individuals, of which only 17.1% experienced high demoralization. Loss of resources fully mediated the effect of symptom severity on demoralization, explaining 56% of the variance of demoralization and inhibiting the initially significant effect of symptom severity on demoralization to nonsignificant levels [from b = 0.67, 95% CI (0.26, 1.07) to b = 0.03, 95% CI (−0.27, 0.32)]. Conclusion: Early recognition of the loss of resources phenomena and interventions to reduce its progression through the introduction of resource gains may diminish, or even prevent, the installation of demoralization in individuals with chronic symptoms.
General Hospital Psychiatry
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Dischinger, M.I., Lange, L., Vehling, S. (2019) Loss of Resources and Demoralization in the Chronically Ill. General Hospital Psychiatry, 61, 10-15.