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Multiple illness perceptions in older adults: Effects on physical functioning and medication adherence


Schuz, B and Wolff, JK and Warner, LM and Ziegelmann, JP and Wurm, S, Multiple illness perceptions in older adults: Effects on physical functioning and medication adherence, Psychology and Health: An International Journal, 29, (4) pp. 442-457. ISSN 0887-0446 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/08870446.2013.863884


Objective: Previous research on illness perceptions has focused on single illnesses, but most adults over 65 suffer from multiple illnesses (multimorbidity). This study tests three competing operationalisations of multiple illness perceptions in predicting physical functioning and adherence: (1) main effects and interactions model; (2) peak model with effects of the most prominent illness perception; and (3) combined model with averaged illness perceptions over multiple illnesses.

Design: Longitudinal study in N = 215 individuals (6586 years) with multimorbidity at two measurement points over six months. Participants filled in two Brief Illness Perception Questionnaires (B-IPQ) on their two most severe illnesses.

Main outcome measures: Physical functioning, medication adherence.

Results: Factor analyses suggest that the B-IPQ contains three dimensions; consequences, control and timeline. Multiple regression models fit the data best for (1) and (3). Timeline (β = −.18) and control (β = .21) predict adherence in (1); consequences (β = .16) and control (β = .20) in (3). Physical functioning was significantly predicted by interacting control beliefs in (1; β = .13), by peak consequences in (2; β = −.14) and by consequences (β = −.15) in (3).

Conclusions: Individuals with multimorbidity hold both distinct and combined perceptions about their illnesses. To understand individual responses to multimorbidity, perceptions about all illnesses and multimorbidity as entity should be examined.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:illness perceptions, multiple illnesses, older adults, physical functioning, medication adherence, illness representations
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Schuz, B (Dr Benjamin Schuez)
ID Code:88733
Year Published:2014 (online first 2013)
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2014-02-13
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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