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Lay Management of Chronic Disease: A Qualitative Study of Living with Hepatitis C Infection

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Objectives : To examine management strategies and goals reported by people diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C.

Methods : We analyzed data from semistructured interviews (N 42) and from electronic sources [illness narratives (N 79) and Internet threaded discussions (N 264)]. Line-by-line coding, comparisons, and team discussions generated catalogs of lay management strategies and goals. We analyzed code-based files to identify informants' selection of specific strategies for each goal.

Results : We classified lay management strategies into 3 categories: medical self-care, behavior change, and coping. These strategies were used selectively in addressing multiple goals, categorized as fighting the virus, strengthening the body, and managing consequences.

Conclusions : Results underscore the diversity of strategies for living with a disease characterized by uncertain prognosis and variable expression of symptoms.

Keywords: hepatitis C; lay management; self-care

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Research Professor, Department of Sociology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.

Publication date: 2009-07-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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