The personification of chronic physical illness: Its role in adjustment and implications for psychotherapy integration. Academic Article uri icon


  • We propose the term illness personification (ILL-PERF) as an organizing theme shedding light on the ways individuals live with, under, and outside of chronic physical illness. Drawing from multiple theoretical sources—object relations theory, social–cognitive theory, existential phenomenology and neuroscience—as well as from our own research program on chronic pain and systemic lupus erothemathosis (LSE), we argue that individual differences in the tendency to ascribe human characteristics to physical illness play an important risk/resilience role in illness-related disability and emotional distress. We then describe the way ILL-PERF might be incorporated into extant—and integrative—treatments of chronic physical illness.(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

publication date

  • January 1, 2013