Causes of illness—Constraining and facilitating beliefs


Pirjo Järemo, Komvux Norrköping, Nygatan 38, SE- 60234 Norrköping, Sweden. Email:


Järemo P, Arman M. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2011; 17: 370–379

Causes of illness—Constraining and facilitating beliefs

The aim of this study was to enhance knowledge about patients' beliefs related to different kinds of illnesses and to describe and understand their beliefs as they relate to their outlook on their illnesses. Fifty-two patients with various illness symptoms receiving integrative anthroposophic care answered an item in a questionnaire about their own thinking of the causes of their illness. The method used for analysis was qualitative content analysis. The result showed that from a patient's perspective a complex combination of causes led to illness. The most prominent causes were psychosocial factors, but personal attitudes, biological factors and chance were also mentioned. Beliefs act as either facilitating or constraining. The informants displayed more constraining than facilitating beliefs, which might prevent them from improving their health. Furthermore, the informants might improve their ability to deal with their illness by identifying their own personal internal resources.