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“MY CIRCLE HAS BECOME A LOT SMALLER”: HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE DISCLOSURES IN CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS

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abstract
Research on communication of illness in friendships is fundamental to understanding biopsychosocial implications of disease. The goal of this study was to determine how disclosure of Hashimoto’s disease impacts individuals’ psychological and social well-being in friendships. This qualitative study used Communication Privacy Management Theory and Social Penetration Theory theoretical frameworks to examine disclosure decisions, processes, and relational implications of disclosure. Participants (n = 12), all female, engaged in semi-structured interviews to share their experiences of disclosing Hashimoto’s disease in close friendships. Results revealed that women with Hashimoto’s disease encounter positive and negative experiences when disclosing their illness to a close friend. For some, the decision to disclose was effortless, while others engaged in a more involved decision making process for how to initially disclose, and how much to disclose all together. During the disclosure, having an invisible disease with inconsistent symptoms added an additional element in navigating the disclosure conversation. Some women navigated the process easily, as their friend provided the response they needed, whether this was emotional support, physical support, or simply being there to listen. Other women had more challenging disclosures to navigate when their friends reacted in ways unanticipated, such as being unsupportive and unreceptive. Results showed that disclosures of Hashimoto’s disease continued across time as the time after being diagnosed progressed. Some friendships were strengthened after disclosing Hashimoto’s disease to a close friend, while others decreased in closeness or even resolved. Disclosures for many lead to increased social support, which may contribute towards increased health benefits. In the future, research on this topic can be expanded through studying disclosures to various relationships as well as expanding on other implications of the illness.
subject
Chronic Illness
Friendship
Hashimoto's Disease
Health
Invisible Illness
Thyroid Disease
contributor
Locke, Sarah Jean (author)
Canzona, Mollie R (committee chair)
Krcmar, Marina (committee member)
Kammrath, Lara K (committee member)
date
2020-05-29T08:36:04Z (accessioned)
2020-05-29T08:36:04Z (available)
2020 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/96832 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
“MY CIRCLE HAS BECOME A LOT SMALLER”: HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE DISCLOSURES IN CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS
type
Thesis

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