Leventhals Illness Dimensions

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How people understand disease is critical for their behavior when they believe they are ill. Discuss each of the five components that Leventhal and his associates have identified as components of illness conceptualizations in terms of their implications for illness behavior.

Introduction


People by use of their common sense search for the meaning of somatic events and tend to attribute these events to a specific cause. According to Taylor, (1999), the presence of symptoms and also how a person interprets them affect his/her behavior. Equally important are the attributions which the person makes out of the symptoms being experienced. Research has shown that majority of the people seeking medication on not so serious symptoms are later diagonised to suffer from depression related illnesses. The explanation here is that the people interpret the symptoms to mean presence of physical diseases.
Leventhal proposed five dimensions of illness in which illness experiences are organized. The five dimensions are: control and curability. Cause, Timeline, consequences and identity (Leventhal, Benyamini, Brownlee, Diefenbach, M. Leventhal, Miller, L., & Robitaille, 1997).
A patient's perceptions of how they can control an illness and the possible out come changes their behavior. When administering treatment for illness perceptions the goal should be to influence behavior. In the (Development and Diversity. Vol. 4) it is noted that illness representations affect the measure a patient will take in order to adapt to an illness as his/her emotional responses. To adapt a patient may use escape-avoidance mechanisms and wishful thinking. This, illustrates that it is crucial for clinicians to examine individuals coping
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