University of Twente Student Theses


The Temporality of Illness Experience : How People with Chronic Illness Narrate their Past and Future

Höhne, Henriette (2022) The Temporality of Illness Experience : How People with Chronic Illness Narrate their Past and Future.

[img] PDF
Abstract:Life stories can suddenly be disrupted by events that challenge one’s understanding about the self, others and the world. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can be regarded as such a disruptive life event. Living with a chronic illness affects how people look back to their past and construct meaning around their illness. The various ways how people with severe illness tell their stories has been outlined by Arthur Frank’s three typologies of illness narratives (restitution, chaos and quest). However, as chronic disease implies the permanence of illness, a prospective narrative approach is needed to account for the human capacity to imagine a future, when the previous plans and hopes for the future might no longer be feasible. Following a narrative approach, the purpose of this study is to better understand how personal stories about the past and the future as well as the perception of time can be disrupted and reconstructed as a result of chronic illness experience. To develop a clearer understanding of this interrelation, we make use of narrative life-review as well as prospective methodology, called Letters from the Future. On the basis of a total sample of 32 narratives, collected online among Dutch people with diverse chronic illnesses, we identified variations in (dis)continuity in narrative genre as well as in future time perception (immediate, distant, nostalgic). A combination of both types of (dis)continuity revealed five different categories, with distinct themes and functionalities of future imagery. This study makes an important contribution in rethinking Frank’s illness narratives by acknowledging the relational and communal aspect of living with a chronic disease. The findings call for greater attendance to the subjective experience of people with chronic illness in health-care and collaborative work of researchers and policy-makers in addressing the needs, burdens and wishes of those people accordingly.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page