Psychological reactions to chronic illness-related disability as a function of its severity and type

Linda L. Viney*, Mary T. Westbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The psychological reactions of 88 patients to their chronic illness while in hospital and at home were assessed by applying content analysis scales to their recorded responses to a question about their illness-related experiences. Their uncertainty, anxiety and depression, anger directly and indirectly expressed, feelings of competence and helplessness, sociability and good feelings were measured. The type and severity of their disabilities were also assessed. The results of multivariate correlational analysis of the data were as follows. Reactions of patients while hospitalized were associated with a number of variables. Younger, less educated patients with higher occupational status were found to show much uncertainty and depression but also much sociability and few feelings of helplessness. Type of patient disability was not associated with any particular reaction pattern; but severity of disability was. Patients with more severe disabilities expressed more anxiety, depression and anger and fewer good feelings but considerable sociability. Patients' reactions when at home proved more difficult to predict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-523
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes


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