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Br J Nurs. 2006 Sep 28-Oct 11;15(17):938-42.

From spirituality to coping strategy: making sense of chronic illness.

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  • 1Department of Adult Nursing Studies, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent.


This article explores how individuals might make sense of chronic illness. The spiritual aspect of self is described both as being central to finding meaning in suffering with a chronic illness and also the source of hope in meeting the challenges faced. Culture as the template for interpreting the significance of chronic ill health at a personal, familial and societal level is also considered. A conceptual model for understanding life transitions is modified to incorporate the spiritual and cultural perspectives of making sense of chronic illness in relation to coping skills. In understanding how patients make sense of their circumstances nurses are more likely to be able to offer appropriate support to effect coping.

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