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Kidney transplant is a critical treatment option for people with end-stage renal disease. Both the disease and transplant therapy usually reduce people’s quality of life. Understanding quality of life and its explaining factors is necessary to design effective intervention. Guided by The Common-Sense Model of Illness Representations, this cross-sectional study aimed to examine whether illness representations and self-management can explain quality of life among people with kidney transplant. Illness representations are people’s beliefs and expectations about their illness. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 207 participants with kidney transplant who attended a kidney transplant clinic at a tertiary hospital in northern Thailand. Instruments used were the Demographic and Clinical Data Form, the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire, the Self-Management Scale for Kidney Transplant Recipients, and the Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, and hierarchical regression analysis.
Findings indicated that all dimensions of illness representations except the agreement with the reasons as causes for symptom had a significant and negative association with quality of life. Symptom experience, controlling of health threat, emotional representations of illness and self-management together significantly explained 33% of the variance in quality of life. However, this study should be further tested for the effectiveness through experimental design with people in different locations before implementation in practice. Nurses need to implement interventions to enhance quality of life in people with kidney transplant through designing interventions to support self-management to reduce symptoms of disease, positivity in controlling the health threat, and reduce the negative emotional representations of illness.
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