Perceived Severity of Chronic Illness Diagnosis and Psychological Well-being: Exploring the Multiplicity and Dimensions of Perceived Identity Change

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Abstract

In this study, we explore the role of perceived identity change as it relates to chronic illness and psychological well-being. Individuals with chronic illnesses (N = 345, M age = 34.08, SD = 11.23) completed a questionnaire assessing their diagnosis, perceived identity change, and psychological well-being. Results demonstrated significant differences within identity aspects (i.e., personal, social, relational, and performative) for both the amount (i.e., how much) and affect (i.e., positive or negative) of perceived identity change. Further, the perceived amount of specific identity change in only the relational aspect mediated the relationship between perceived severity of chronic illness diagnosis and psychological well-being. However, collective perceived amount of identity change (i.e., average scores on all four amount identity aspects) also mediated the relationship between perceived severity of chronic illness diagnosis and psychological well-being. Results from a conditional process model indicated that as perceived affective change in the relational layer becomes more neutral, the significant negative indirect effect of perceived severity of chronic illness diagnosis on psychological well-being via perceived amount of identity change in the relational aspect is strengthened. Thus, researchers and practitioners should account for the nuances of identity to better attend to the psychological needs of individuals living with a chronic illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-264
Number of pages18
JournalIdentity
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Identity
  • chronic illness
  • identity change
  • psychological well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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