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patient education

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for sickle cell patients – focus groups report

key information

source: Sickle Cell Society

year: 2014


The Bodily Symptoms That Define Sickle Cell Disease:

The common-sense beliefs about an illness can be identified by a set of attributes, and ‘identity’ is an important component. This refers to the label and symptoms that define the threat of that illness to the individual (Lau et al, 1989). Focus group participants identified a number of bodily symptoms that many of them had regularly experienced. These included: tiredness and fatigue; being prone to infections; stiffness in joints and bones; as well as aches and pains.

Other symptoms that some participants had also experienced include: breathing difficulties; sleep disturbances; allergies; increases in bodily temperatures and sweating. The individual’s representation of their sickle cell disease is important because of the impact this has on both their cognition and their behavior.

Many of the participants described the unpredictable nature of the disease and the stress that this caused them. They described how they had to reduce or, in some cases, stop certain activities completely. Particularly difficult was the inability to plan ahead.  

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