Living well with multiple autoimmune diseases: An interpretive description
Autoimmune diseases (ADs) are a classification of chronic of illnesses in which the immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign invaders and attacks the body’s own tissues or organs. They are unique in that the diagnosis of one AD makes the individual more susceptible to developing other ADs, and the symptoms of one AD, influence the disease activity of the others. Disease activity may also be influenced by a mind-body connection due to the relationship between stress and the immune system. The purpose of this study was to provide empirical evidence to generate new knowledge and expand our understanding of how individuals diagnosed with multiple ADs are living well. The methodology of interpretive description guided analysis. Five women with their ages ranging from early twenties to late seventies who were diagnosed with two or more ADs participated. The participants’ experiences were illuminated through semi-structured interviews. Four major interconnected themes and 13 sub-themes emerged. They discussed their challenges and successes, their attitudes towards their illnesses, and how they managed living with multiple ADs. The knowledge of the importance of a holistic lens through which to view healthcare provides important insights for those working in physical or mental health settings.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramEducational Psychology and Special Education
CommitteeMartin, Stephanie; Goodridge, Donna
Copyright DateJune 2013