• Martin Brygger Andersen
  • Simon Søndergaard Christensen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
This master thesis explores how citizens with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ex-perience their everyday lives, how they cope with their illness, and how it impacts their quality of life and happiness. It is our understanding that there is a need for more research on COPD from a sociological perspective, especially since the existing body of knowledge is dominated by medical science. This means that the social and psychological consequences of COPD largely are ignored in the bulk of research. It can be argued that the existing research mainly focuses on the negative consequences of living with COPD. Hence this master thesis explores not only the negative conse-quences but also the positive in terms of how they cope with their illness and how they maintain their quality of life. This phenomenological study is based on 10 qualitative interviews with elderly persons. Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective and theory of stigmatization has been applied in order to understand how COPD affects social interactions on the micro-sociological scene. General theory regarding emotion-based and problem-based coping has been used in order to understand how they deal with illness on a daily basis.
This study concludes that stigmatization is not apparent for citizens with COPD in the social interactions in everyday life since the illness typically remains hidden. The use of oxygen equip-ment increases the likelihood of being discredited. Citizens with COPD are generally ashamed of their illness which creates a tendency to hide the illness in order to pass as normals. Self-stigmatization is apparent which is the result of internalized values and norms of society. It is found that positive reappraisal is used as an emotion-based strategy by people with COPD to in-crease the quality of life, since this allows seeing situations more positively. They also experience humor as beneficial in order to see serious situations as less frightening. Social comparisons are used to some extent to increase quality of life, yet social comparisons also affect quality of life negatively in some cases. Activities and hobbies, which are not too demanding physically, are per-ceived as beneficial since they result in distraction from challenges of everyday life. Traveling in-creases quality of life in some cases, since a warmer climate lessens the symptoms of illness. Final-ly it is found that people with COPD experience a different relationship to life after their diagnosis. They become more likely not to delay experiences because they perceive their future as increas-ingly uncertain. Altruistic actions and freedom are found to have importance for their quality of life and happiness.
Publication date2016
Number of pages150
External collaboratorSundhedscenter Aalborg
Fysioterapeut Anne-Mette Andersen annemettetordrup.andersen@aalborg.dk
Information group
ID: 238032316