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Revista Portuguesa de Enfermagem de Saúde Mental

Print version ISSN 1647-2160

Abstract

RAFAEL, Helga. Personal identity rebuilding in chronic illness: An Integrative Review. Revista Portuguesa de Enfermagem de Saúde Mental [online]. 2017, n.18, pp.77-84. ISSN 1647-2160.  http://dx.doi.org/10.19131/rpesm.0195.

Living with chronic illness affects one's personal identity. The purpose of this article is to review empirical and theoretical studies about how the experience of living with chronic illness affects personal identity. There is no known literature review on this subject. An integrative review of the literature was carried out and 12 studies were analysed. The results show that people naturally seek to define and express their personal identity. The analysis of the bibliographic sample allowed to identify three categories: Identity elements questioned chronic disease; Sense of self in chronic illness; And Phases of (re)construction of personal identity. Identity elements, such as degree of activity, physical capacities or degree of dependence, are disturbed and can lead to feelings of loss, strangeness, insecurity or isolation. The person goes through different phases until the reconstruction of a new identity. More research is needed to clarify this process.

Keywords : Identity; Chronic disease; Nursing.

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