The roles of dispositional coping style and social support in helping people with respiratory disease cope with a breathlessness crisis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2019, 75 (9), pp. 1953 - 1965
Issue Date:
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© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: To explore the role of coping moderators in self-management of breathlessness crises by people with advanced respiratory disease. Design: A secondary analysis of semi-structured interview data. Methods: Interviews with patients who had advanced respiratory disease, chronic breathlessness and at least one experience where they considered presenting to Emergency but self-managed instead (a “near miss”). Participants were recruited from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania. Eligible caregivers were those who contributed to Emergency-related decision-making. Interviews were coded inductively and then deductively against the coping moderators social support and dispositional coping style, defined by the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping. Results: Interviews were conducted between October 2015 - April 2016 with 20 patients and three caregivers. Social networks offered emotional and practical support but also had potential for conflict with patients' ‘hardy’ coping style. Patient hardiness (characterized by a sense of ‘commitment’ and ‘challenge’) promoted a proactive approach to self-management but made some patients less willing to accept support. Information-seeking tendencies varied between patients and were sometimes shared with caregivers. An optimistic coping style appeared to be less equivocally beneficial. Conclusion: This study shows that social support and coping style may influence how people self-manage through their breathlessness crises and identified ways coping moderators can facilitate or hinder effective self-management. Impact: This study confers insights into how social-support and coping style can be supported and optimized to facilitate breathlessness self-management. Acknowledging coping moderator interactions is beneficial for developing resources and strategies that recognise patient mastery.
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