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adaptation, beliefs, cultural background, functional behavior, Hong Kong, overactive bladder, sick role



  1. Siu, Judy Yuen-man


Background: Diseases often carry cultural meanings and metaphors, and these meanings can influence illness experiences and behavioral responses.


Objectives: This research investigated how old cultural stereotypes and new social understandings of overactive bladder (OAB) intertwined to influence sick role adaptation and behavioral responses among those with OAB.


Methods: A qualitative approach using in-depth individual, semistructured interviews was adopted. Thirty patients having OAB were purposively sampled from a patient self-help group for people with OAB.


Results: The cultural stereotypes about OAB-as an "old people" disease, as a hopeless disease without cure, as a sexually related disease, and as a disease of substance use-had significant impact on the social and illness experiences of participants, leading to difficulty in adapting to their sick role, indicated by behavioral responses of denial, concealment, resignation, and self-seclusion.


Discussion: Cultural stereotypes of OAB significantly influenced sick role adaptation, which affected illness experiences of persons with OAB. These cultural stereotypes were associated with behavioral responses that led to difficulties in coping with OAB.