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Arch Hellen Med, 37(2), March-April 2019, 264-276


Integrating psychoeducation and positive psychology: A challenge in managing chronic illness

M. Economou,1,2 M. Theocharis,2 E. Dieti,2 E. Legaki,1 M. Charitsi,2 A. Palli,2 C. Papageorgiou1,2
1First Psychiatric Department, "Eginition Hospital", National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
2University Mental Health Research Institute (UMHRI), Athens, Greece

Chronic illness and its management constitute a major challenge for global health. The chronicity of a disease creates significant emotional pressures, and the requirements of long-term care have a significant impact on family functioning. Conversely, the functioning of the family can itself affect the course of chronic illness. Nowadays, psychosocial intervention constitutes a valuable ally for the effective, lifelong management of chronic illness. Most prominent among the forms of intervention is the psychoeducational approach, which consists of providing information about the illness and its treatment, along with training in communication and problem-solving skills. The effectiveness of psychoeducational intervention for patients with chronic physical and, even more, mental illness, is well documented, in terms of enhancement of the understanding of the illness, promotion of adherence to medication, reduction of relapses and hospitalization, and improvement in the family atmosphere and the overall quality of life of its members. The positive psychology approach contributes to the management of chronic illness through promotion of positive emotions, thoughts and behaviors, encouragement of self-sufficiency and development of social support networks. Studies have shown that positive psychology intervention is associated with a significant increase in wellbeing and hope, and a reduction in anxiety, depressive symptoms, sleep disturbances and physical pain. In modern societies, the combination of psychoeducation and positive psychology methods constitutes a dynamic approach to the management of chronic illness that can lead to an improved health outcome.

Key words: Chronic illness, Efficacy of psychosocial intervention, Positive psychology, Psychoeducation, Psychosocial intervention.

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