Epilepsy is a chronic and common neurological condition worldwide. It generates psychological and social suffering in those who suffer from it. In order to objectify the effect of the representations and the experience of the disease on the coping strategies adopted by patients suffering from epilepsy, we conducted research with 46 patients aged 18 and over suffering from this condition.
Our data were collected using a questionnaire, Carver's Brief COPE scale (1997) and a semi-directive interview guide. The data was processed using the Sphinx Plus² program.
Our results show that most patients with epilepsy see the disease as being neurological (80.4%), curable (82.6%), and financially and/or socially burdensome (91.3%). Compared to the experience of the disease, the results show that patients suffering from epilepsy are frequently driven by fear (97.8%), shame (76.1%), a feeling of worthlessness (34.8%) and more adopt coping strategies centered on emotion (73.9%) and other strategies much more specific to the disease and the sociocultural context. Our results showed a significant effect of representations (at the .05 threshold) and illness experience (at the .01 threshold) on coping strategies (adaptation) adopted by patients with epilepsy.
This study therefore calls on health professionals to provide holistic care for patients suffering from epilepsy.
Keywords: Epilepsy; representations; experience; coping strategies
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