The Impact of Maladaptive Health Beliefs on Adaptation to Chronic Illness Through Self-regulation
1University of Athens, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Greece
2University of Crete, Department of Psychology, Greece
Background: Little is known about the pathways through which maladaptive beliefs impact adaptation to illness. In this regard, the aim of this study was to examine whether illness representations mediate the relation of maladaptive health beliefs to patients’ subjective health. There is considerable evidence that an adaptive representation of a curable/controllable illness is related to better health, whereas a less adaptive representation of a severe, troublesome and less controllable condition is associated with worse health outcomes. Methods: Patients suffering from cancer (N=125) participated in this cross-sectional study. Mean age of the sample was 58 years (sd =11.49), 78 were women and 47 men. Findings: Personal control and emotional representations mediated the relation of maladaptive beliefs to health. Also, personal control and illness coherence mediated the relation of maladaptive beliefs to coping behaviour. Discussion: It seems that maladaptive health beliefs, as deeply-rooted ways of processing health-related information, ‘urge’ patients to represent illness in a more negative way, which in turn impact adaptation to illness.