Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

  • ISSN: 2049-5471
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Positively managing intrusive reactions to disfigurement: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of naturalistic coping

Andrew R Thompson, Lucy Broom

There is a dearth of research that has explored how people with a visible difference naturalistically manage the reactions of others. In this study the experience of people with a visible difference who felt that they successfully managed the reactions of others was explored. Six women and two men with a variety of disfiguring conditions participated in a semistructured interview, which aimed to explore their experience of managing others’ reactions. The interview transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The participants used a range of emotion-focused and  roblemfocused  strategies to cope. Despite selecting themselves on the basis of self-perceived coping, it was apparent that some of the participants were still experiencing difficulties in adjusting. The findings suggest that adjustment to  isfigurement is an ongoing process. They also have the potential to inform the development of clinical interventions for people who are struggling to cope with stigmatising reactions.