ISSN: 1230-2813
Advances in Psychiatry and Neurology/Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii
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SCImago Journal & Country Rank
1/2020
vol. 29
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Stereotypes vs. Reality: shame and coping strategies applied by healthy subjects and multiple sclerosis patients – preliminary research

Joanna Furmańska
1
,
Teresa N. Rzepa
2
,
Dorota Koziarska
3
,
Emilia Rutkowska
1
,
Marek Bulsa
4

1.
Institute of Psychology, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland
2.
Psychotherapeutic Centre SensTerapia, Poznan, Poland
3.
Department of Neurology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland
4.
Unit of Health and Health Promoting Behaviour Sociology, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland
Adv Psychiatry Neurol 2020; 29 (1): 11-24
Online publish date: 2020/04/27
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Purpose
The aim of the paper was to check the level of disease-related shame shown by people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) as compared to healthy people who activated the stereotype in relation to themselves in view of a disease that is chronic, incurable and leading to disability. Additionally, verification of the differences identified between both groups in terms of applied strategies of coping with shame and the correlation between the frequency of employing them and the level of shame shown by the MS patients was conducted.

Methods
The research study involved 60 people, including 30 patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and 30 healthy subjects. The tools applied were the Questionnaire for Measuring Disease-Related Guilt and Shame (hereinafter: “the Questionnaire”) and the Compass of Shame Scale (CoSS, Version 5).

Results
It was found that there was no difference between the disease-related shame levels shown by the MS patients and the healthy subjects. The healthy subjects and the MS patients did not differ in terms of employing the strategies of coping with shame, such as avoidance, self-blame and blaming others; nevertheless, the MS patients in comparison to the healthy subjects were less likely to apply withdrawal. It was found that in the MS patient group, the level of disease-related shame was positively correlated with triggering withdrawal and self-blame as the strategies of coping with the shame.

Conclusions
The findings of the study are important in everyday medical and psychological practice, in prevention and psychotherapy of shame and its pathological effects that negatively affect the psychosocial functioning of patients.

keywords:

shame, multiple sclerosis, shameful disease stereotype, coping strategies

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