Illness perceptions and coping in physical health conditions: A meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)
489 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: There is a considerable body of research linking elements of Leventhal’s Common Sense Model (CSM) to emotional well-being/distress outcomes among people with physical illness. The present study aims to consolidate this literature and examine the evidence for the role of coping strategies within this literature.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted where the outcomes of interest were: depression, anxiety and quality of life. A total of 1050 articles were identified and 31 articles were considered eligible to be included in the review.
Results: Across a range of illnesses, perceptions of consequences of the illness and emotional representations were consistently the illness perceptions with the strongest relationship with the outcomes. Coping variables tend to be stronger predictors of outcomes than the illness perception variables. The evidence for the mediating effect of coping was inconsistent.
Conclusions: Illness perceptions and coping have an important role to play in the explanation of distress outcomes across a range of physical health conditions. However, some clarity about the theoretical position of coping in relation to illness perceptions, and further longitudinal work is needed if we are to apply this information to the design of interventions for the improvement of psychological health among people with physical health conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-513
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
Early online date21 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Illness perceptions and coping in physical health conditions: A meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this