'I used to dream of lupus as some sort of creature': Chronic illness as an internal object Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract This study examines the place occupied by chronic illness in the inner lives of 15 women suffering from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). A phenomenological analysis of illness narratives demonstrates that sufferers construe their illness as a protagonist or, using an object-relations informed perspective, as an internal object. That is, with time sufferers constituted a mental representation of SLE that in itself has the power to influence the sufferers' affective states and behaviors. An insight into these" illness relations" is conducive to a better understanding of the" lived experience" of SLE for disabled, economically disadvantaged women. Through their experience, the study of risk and resilience in chronic illness may be advanced.(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

publication date

  • January 1, 2008