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The roles of dispositional coping style and social support in helping people with respiratory disease cope with a breathlessness crisis

Garcia, Maja Villanueva; Luckett, Tim; Johnson, Miriam; Hutchinson, Ann; Lal, Sara; Phillips, Jane


Maja Villanueva Garcia

Tim Luckett

Sara Lal

Jane Phillips


To explore the role of coping moderators in self-management of breathlessness crises by people with advanced respiratory disease.
A secondary analysis of semi-structured interview data.
Interviews with patients who had advanced respiratory disease, chronic breathlessness and at least one experience where they considered presenting to Emergency but self-managed instead (a ‘near miss’). Participants were recruited from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania. Eligible caregivers were those who contributed to Emergency-related decision-making. Interviews were coded inductively, and then deductively against the coping moderators social support and dispositional coping style, defined by the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping.
Interviews were conducted between October 2015 and April 2016 with 20 patients and 3 caregivers. Social networks offered emotional and practical support but also had potential for conflict with patients’ ‘hardy’ coping style. Patient hardiness (characterized by a sense of ‘commitment’ and ‘challenge’) promoted a proactive approach to self-management but made some patients less willing to accept support. Information-seeking tendencies varied between patients and was sometimes shared with caregivers. An optimistic coping style appeared to be less equivocally beneficial.
This study shows that social support and coping style may influence how people self-manage through their breathlessness crises and identified ways in which coping moderators can facilitate or hinder effective self-management.
This study confers insights into how social-support and coping style can be supported and optimised to facilitate breathlessness self-management. Acknowledging coping moderator interactions is beneficial for developing resources and strategies that recognise patient mastery.
Key words: breathlessness, dyspnea, self-management, coping, nursing, social support, respiratory, emergency, qualitative 


Garcia, M., Luckett, T., Johnson, M., Hutchinson, A., Lal, S., & Phillips, J. (2019). The roles of dispositional coping style and social support in helping people with respiratory disease cope with a breathlessness crisis. Journal of advanced nursing, 75(9), 1953-1965.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 2, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 22, 2019
Publication Date 2019-09
Deposit Date Apr 17, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 23, 2020
Print ISSN 0309-2402
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 75
Issue 9
Pages 1953-1965
Keywords Breathlessness; Dyspnea; Self-management; Coping; Nursing; Social support; Respiratory; Emergency; Qualitative
Public URL
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