Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Health and Well-being: Definitions, Identity and Experience
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In this thesis, I explore the meanings and experience of health and well-being in the lives of individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Taking an auto/biographical approach and utilising in-depth qualitative online interviews, I draw on the experience and narratives of seventeen individuals with IBD, including myself. The three main themes addressed are ‘Living with IBD’, ‘Becoming a Patient’, and ‘Coping and Control’. I explore how IBD influences individuals’ experience of personal relationships, and their medical encounters and treatments. I reflect on how and why these factors arise and the effect they may have upon the disease and its management and on individuals’ feelings of well-being more generally. I look at the resulting illness narratives and the impact of IBD on the daily life experience and the identity of the individual. I interrogate existing research and add to it from my analysis. Throughout, the research highlights the importance of acknowledging the impact of biographical disruption on the life experience and identity of individuals along with changing illness narratives. There are implications for future research and for policy, including the time taken to reach diagnosis, the use of IBD guidelines in diagnosis and treatment, and patient control and choice as a contributing factor to influence future guidelines and treatment plans.
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