University of Twente Student Theses


Self-criticism in the context of chronic illness.

Dammers, M.A. (2020) Self-criticism in the context of chronic illness.

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Abstract:Background: Suffering from a physical chronic illness is not only about physical-related impairments. People are also confronted with mental challenges. Psychopathologies, self-destructive thoughts and unpleasant feelings – all of them are related to self-criticism. Research shows that the course of disease is more problematic for chronically ill persons who experience self-criticism. However, there is a gap in terms of how these people experience self-criticism in daily life. Aim: The purpose of the study was to fill this gap by collecting extended information about the way in which chronically ill persons experience self-criticism. Methods: Using convenience and snowball sampling, twelve people with various chronic illnesses were recruited to carry out self-compassion exercises and raise awareness about their individual way of criticizing or being compassionate with themselves. In a second step, questions about experiences with their illness and self-critical situations were asked in a semi structured interview. Data were analysed using thematic analysis approach. Results: Guilt, shame, anger and self-destructive behaviour and cognitions could be identified as patterns of self-criticism. The participants also reported strictness and high expectations towards the self and experienced degrading feelings of worthlessness and being inadequate because of their situation. Especially participants with skin diseases experienced shame for their visible symptoms. Conclusion: Self-criticism in context of chronic illness is an interplay of multiple dimensions and the way in which these dimensions are experienced is influenced by an evaluation of the current situation, the perception of the social environment and by the kind of the disease itself.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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