Benefit-Finding and Sense-Making in Chronic Illness

Kenneth I. Pakenham

in The Oxford Handbook of Stress, Health, and Coping

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375343
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Benefit-Finding and Sense-Making in Chronic Illness

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In this chapter I will discuss the theoretical origins of benefit-finding and sense-making. In particular, proposals as to how these two meaning-making processes might fit into the stress and coping framework will be examined (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Park & Folkman, 1997). Research that has examined the measurement, nature, and role of benefit-finding and sense-making in coping with chronic illness will be reviewed. The interpersonal context of sense-making and benefit-finding will also be considered, particularly the role of shared meaning-making within patient–caregiver dyads. Although the body of research investigating benefit-finding in chronic illness is growing, the role of sense-making has been neglected, as has consideration of the joint role of these two related meaning-making processes. The implications of sense-making and benefit-finding research outcomes for interventions designed to promote health and quality of life in people with chronic illness will be discussed. Finally, future research directions will be delineated.

Keywords: stress; coping; benefit-finding; sense-making; chronic illness

Article.  20112 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Social Psychology

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