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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2008 Jan 21;6:4. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-6-4.

Emotional and rational disease acceptance in patients with depression and alcohol addiction.

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Chair of Medical Theory and Complementary Medicine, University Witten/Herdecke, Gerhard-Kienle-Weg 4, 58313 Herdecke, Germany.



The concept of a rational respectively emotional acceptance of disease is highly valued in the treatment of patients with depression or addiction. Due to the importance of this concept for the long-term course of disease, there is a strong interest to develop a tool to identify the levels and factors of acceptance. We thus intended to test an instrument designed to assess the level of positive psychological wellbeing and coping, particularly emotional disease acceptance and life satisfaction


In an anonymous cross-sectional survey enrolling 115 patients (51% female, 49% male; mean age 47.6 +/- 10.0 years) with depression and/or alcohol addiction, the ERDA questionnaire was tested.


Factor analysis of the 29-item construct (Cronbach's alpha = 0.933) revealed a 4-factor solution, which explained 59.4% of variance: (1) Positive Life Construction, Contentedness and Well-Being; (2) Conscious Dealing with Illness; (3) Rejection of an Irrational Dealing with Disease; (4) Disease Acceptance. Two factors could be ascribed to a rational, and two to an emotional acceptance. All factors correlated negatively with Depression and Escape, while several aspects of Life Satisfaction" (i.e. myself, overall life, where I live, and future prospects) correlated positively. The highest factor scores were found for the rational acceptance styles (i.e. Conscious Dealing with Illness; Disease Acceptance). Emotional acceptance styles were not valued in a state of depression. Escape from illness was the strongest predictor for several acceptance aspects, while life satisfaction was the most relevant predictor for "Positive Life Construction, Contentedness and Well-Being".


The ERDA questionnaire was found to be a reliable and valid assessment of disease acceptance strategies in patients with depressive disorders and drug abuses. The results indicate the preferential use of rational acceptance styles even in depression. Disease acceptance should not be regarded as a coping style with an attitude of fatalistic resignation, but as a complex and active process of dealing with a chronic disease. One may assume that an emotional acceptance of disease will result in a therapeutic coping process associated with higher level of life satisfaction and overall quality of life.

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