Navigation Links
U-M Research Shows Chronically Ill Patients Might Be Happier if They Give Up Hope
Date:11/2/2009

Study shows that colostomy patients who believed their condition was irreversible reported better quality of life than those with faith that they would be cured

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Holding on to hope may not make patients happier as they deal with chronic illness or diseases, according to a new study by University of Michigan Health System researchers.

"Hope is an important part of happiness," said Peter A. Ubel, M.D., director of the U-M Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine and one of the authors of the happily hopeless study, "but there's a dark side of hope. Sometimes, if hope makes people put off getting on with their life, it can get in the way of happiness."

The results showed that people do not adapt well to situations if they are believed to be short-term. Ubel and his co-authors -- both from U-M and Carnegie Mellon University -- studied patients who had new colostomies: their colons were removed and they had to have bowel movements in a pouch that lies outside their body.

At the time they received their colostomy, some patients were told that the colostomy was reversible -- that they would undergo a second operation to reconnect their bowels after several months. Others were told that the colostomy was permanent and that they would never have normal bowel function again. The second group -- the one without hope -- reported being happier over the next six months than those with reversible colostomies.

"We think they were happier because they got on with their lives. They realized the cards they were dealt, and recognized that they had no choice but to play with those cards," says Ubel, who is also a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine.

"The other group was waiting for their colostomy to be reversed," he added. "They contrasted their current life with the life they hoped to lead, and didn't make the best of their current situation."

The research was published in this month's edition of Health Psychology.

Ubel was joined in the research by Dylan M. Smith, Ph.D., a research specialist at the Ann Arbor VA Health Services Research and Development Center and a U-M psychologist; Aleksandra Jankovic, of U-M's Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine and George Loewenstein, professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.

Loewenstein said these results also may explain why people who lose a spouse to death often recover better emotionally over time than those who get divorced.

"If your husband or wife dies, you have closure. There aren't any lingering possibilities for reconciliation," Loewenstein said.

Ubel said health professionals find it easier to deliver optimistic news to patients even when they believe the prognosis is unfavorable, justifying it by assuming that holding on to hope was better for the patient.

Said Loewenstein: "It may be easier for a doctor to deliver a hopeful message to a patient, even when there isn't much objective reason for hope, but it may not be best for the patient."

"Hopeful messages may not be in the best interests of the patient and may interfere with the patient's emotional adaptation," Ubel says. "I don't think we should take hope away. But I think we have to be careful about building up people's hope so much that they put off living their lives."

The research was funded by the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development. Smith was supported by a career development award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

SOURCE University of Michigan Health System


'/>"/>
SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Health information not communicated well to minority populations, MU researcher finds
2. Children's Hospital Physician Honored for Research
3. HealthMetrix Research Selects 2010 Medicare Advantage Plans for Best Overall Benefit Value
4. Meharry Medical College Receives $21.4 Million NIH Research Grant, Largest in Its History
5. BIKAM and Dalton Medicinal Chemistry Expand and Renew Research Agreement
6. Finding Ways for Disabled People to Participate in Research is Goal of Case Western Reserve University Nursing School Study
7. Hard to Treat Diseases Inc. (HTDS) Targets an EU Based Stem Cell Research Company for a Merger
8. Research shows Tai Chi exercise reduces knee osteoarthritis pain in the elderly
9. High-definition colonoscopy detects more polyps, Mayo Clinic researchers say
10. Lymphoma Research Foundation announces recipients of CLL/SLL Research Initiative grants
11. Child Neurology Foundation Announces $30,000 Grant for Research Into Cause and Treatment of Infantile Spasms
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned ... the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at ... fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June ... with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking ... common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 ... ... 12th International Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two ... Announcement of the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join ... wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase ... of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at its ... Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete system ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market ... the report includes the following: , World ... Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... LEXINGTON, Mass. , June 24, 2016   ... specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today ... when Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set ... 2016. "This is an important milestone for ... "It will increase shareholder awareness of our progress in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator ... more durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it ... funding is led by Innova Memphis, followed by ... private investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate the ... market release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: