Sunday, April 12, 2009


According to the text, a person’s sociocultural environment has many implications for how he or she copes with chronic illnesses. Friends and family and the society surrounding a person can make a huge difference in how he or she copes. For example, shows that if you get a chronic illness that is distained in society, you are likely to be discriminated against for having the disease, and research displays that this discrimination is likely to negatively influence your ability to cope with it.

Not only can sociocultural factors explain how one copes with a serious chronic illness, but the same factors can also explain the most common causes of illness and death. The text explains that the environment that you live in can accentuate a disease of help control it.  IF there are any stressful events happening around you, your anxiety will also increase, which will influence adjustment to the disease. Research has traced the different ways that unhealthy environments can reduce social support and hurt adaptation to illness.

The importance of social factors, including family and community structures, increases when the person with the chronic illness is a child. It is important to have neighborhoods and surrounding communities that can assist not just the child, but also the family coping with chronic illnesses. When adolescents are surrounded by a dangerous neighborhood, they become much more susceptible to engaging in risky behavior that will clearly accentuate the course of their chronic illness.


Dear Hospital Administration,


            A strong understanding of cultural variations in death and dying is an important aspect of health care that should not be ignored. Because cultural variations in healthcare are so influential; both the patients’ and the providers’ cultural approaches to the course of disease and illness affect patients’ care-seeking behavior and treatment opinions, choices, and compliance Certain cultures, religions, and societies see chronic illness and death as something that an entire family or community has to cope with. Thus, it is important that support be provided to not only the individual, but also to the ill patient.

            Along with culture, religion plays a key role in understanding differences in coping with chronic illness and death. Religious coping is correlated with active but not passive coping and directly related to psychological well being. In order to better accommodate the terminally ill and their loved ones, interventions and community-based outreach approaches should embrace an appreciation for expressions and experiences of spirituality for both patients and caregivers.

            Finally, it is important that social support is given to terminally ill patients. Studies show that people with more social support have more positive adjustment to chronic illness. A socially supportive environment has been proven to make the patient more likely to use active coping and take a role in dealing with the illnesses versus disengaging and getting worse.


I hope you keep these suggestions in mind.


Thanks You,


Anna Carta


  1. I agree with a lot of the points you made on how factors like social support, religion, and culture affect coping in the terminally ill. I think it was important you noted that stigmatized diseases can be coupled with discrimination. You could have elaborated a little more on how culture affects coping; for example, coping variations between individualistic vs. collectivist cultures or in city dwellers vs. those living in more rurual areas. Furthermore, I found your letter to be informative but somewhat repitative of the previous section. I think it was important you mentioned psychological care for loved ones of the terminally ill, as well.

  2. I also agreed with most of what you said. I thought you did a great job summarizing up the sociocultural factors that affect people dealing with death or a chronic illness. I agree that it must be very difficult when a child is facing a chronic illness. I can understand the need for strong community support for the child, but I think the parents and siblings of the child may even need more support. It is so unnatural to watch a young child be sick and die from a chronic illness. I know the family would definitely need a lot of help and support to cope. I thought your letter to the hospital was great. I liked your suggestion for the hospital to provide care and services for the entire family. I definitely think that would be beneficial for the family. Also, I do agree with you that social support is necessary for hospital patients, but I would have liked if you explained how to incorporate more social support into the hospital setting. One idea I have is that hospitals should do away with visiting hours. I think it should be a more friendly and open environment. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your post and thought you made some great points!

  3. I agree with what you said considering how this question could be tricky in the way you answer it. Many of your points agreed with mine, such as the sociocultural factors when dealing with death and dying. I think it is so important for doctor's to understand the background of each and every patient of theres to gain an understanding of where they come from and they different aspects of coping that they might have, when family and friends are dealing with a chronic illness. Your letter was very informed when dealing with the hospital administration but maybe you could have added some more thoughts, rather than what was just stated in the book. In general, I enjoyed reading your post!

  4. I’m really glad you brought up the fact that people are discriminated against for having a disease. I can relate to this because I have a friend who has been scrutinized for having a disease leaving her in crutches all the time. She has had a lot of trouble coping with the disease due to the fact that society cannot accept her disease. You said that the “environment that you live in can accentuate a disease or help control it.” This statement also relates to the idea that because my friend’s peers could not accept her disease, she could not either. I believe that a person who lives in a positive environment is a more positive person. Having a positive environment truly helps with coping and dealing with disease and preventing death as well.