Coping with Chronic Illness : Theories, Issues and Lived Experiences book cover
1st Edition

Coping with Chronic Illness
Theories, Issues and Lived Experiences

ISBN 9780367421526
Published December 21, 2020 by Routledge
196 Pages

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Book Description

This valuable book combines psychological theories of health with the lived experience of coping with chronic health conditions, focusing on the "ill person" as an actor of their own development. It draws on perspectives from developmental and health psychology alongside the author’s personal experience of chronic illness.

Bonino considers all aspects of living with illness, from issues that impact on everyday functioning such as pain and fatigue, to the rebuilding of identity through meaningful new goals and effective actions, and the development of therapeutic relationships. Psychological theories are interweaved with descriptions of lived encounters to center the experience of the person living alongside illness and provide insightful points of reference that everyone could try to use when facing the challenges of chronic disease in the course of their daily lives.

Coping with Chronic Illness is important reading for those living with chronic health conditions, as well as for healthcare professionals looking to gain awareness of the psychological issues caused by living with illness. It is also of interest for postgraduate students of health psychology.


Table of Contents

Table of contents

Preface for this edition

Why this book

Part I

1. Healthy and ill: equal and different 2. Beyond the myth of perfect health

3. Protagonist of one’s own development

4. Protagonist of one’s own development in chronic disease

Part II

5. Why me?

6. Finding meaning

7. Reconstructing identity

8. Self-efficacy: the exercise of control

9. Stress

10. Coping with stress

Part III

11. It is all your fault

12. Pain

13. Fatigue

14. Depression

15. Mourning and loss

16. Optimism and happiness

17. Logical thought magical thought

18. Telling the story of one’s illness

Part IV

19. The therapeutic relationship

20. Trust

21. Empathy

22. The patient between statistical logic and clinical logic

23. Alternative medicine

24. Confidentiality

Part V

25. Us and the others

26. Between visible and invisible

27. Solitude

28. Attachments

29. Work

30. Life and death

Part VI

31. Diagnosis: confronting the truth

32. "I want to do it on my own"

33. Being ill in the Internet age

34. And life goes on

35. Parents and children


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Silvia Bonino is Professor Emeritus of Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology of the University of Turin (Italy), where she founded the Laboratory of Developmental Psychology. She is the author of Nature and Culture in Intimate Partner Violence: Sex, Love and Equality, (Routledge, 2018).


This book brings a new vision into the experience of living with chronic disease. Silvia Bonino had the courage and intelligence to put her knowledge as professor of developmental psychology in dialogue with her personal experience to produce a very fine and sensitive description of the processes, emotions, states of mind, strategies and mechanisms of defence of the chronic patient. It offers both a critical and constructive look at the intervention of different health personnel, highlighting the need for better communication between professionals and patients. An indispensable book for both caregivers and chronically ill!

Michel Born, Professor, University of Liège, Belgium