Views from In: Family Experiences of Living with a Person Diagnosed With Chronic Illness: The Case of Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Chronic illness is generally long term, not curable, results in limitations in daily life. It often makes patients more dependent on their healthy family members’ care. Thus, families living with a chronic patient often experience overall altering on their personal as well as family life. This study aimed to reveal the family experiences of living chronic illness. The study was based on the family system theory, social ecology model, and the concept of family resilience. The research methodology of the study is based on the philosophy of qualitative research design. The study draws on multi-method fieldwork, using semi-structured interviews, diaries, and informal dialogue. Field notes and reflections over field observations were also included. The study mainly used the above-mentioned methods to obtain data from the key participants of the study, non-patient family members living with a family member with chronic illness (aged 19-31). Twenty family members living with a person with chronic illness from ten families participated in the study, thirteen females and seven males. Purposive sampling was used to select the participants. The data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The study reveals that the presence of chronic illness had an altering effect for the family as a whole often changing the physical, emotional, and behavior of both the patient and non-patient family members. Furthermore, it also had significant altering effects on family function and inside-out social interactions. But, the study indicated that the family’s illness experiences were not solely understood based on the presence of chronic illness. Rather, there were other ecological factors: including, the family characteristics. Notwithstanding all the challenges and changes, families often involve in different relational coping resources to be able to adapt and make adjustments and maintain the balance and function of the family system. iii



Views from In: Family Experiences of Living with a Person Diagnosed With Chronic Illness: The Case of Addis Ababa