Identity Concealment and Chronic Illness

A Strategic Choice

Jonathan Emdin Cook, Amber Salter, Gertraud Stadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The research presented here investigates potential psychological and health consequences of concealing a chronic illness. Data were collected from 2,500 individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS), as part of an ongoing longitudinal research project. Questions on identity concealment and psychosocial reserve (a broad measure of well-being) were embedded in a semi-annual national survey. Responses were linked to each participant's concurrent responses to questions about their disability status, and prospectively to the same measure of disability status 1 year later. Just over 16% of respondents indicated that it was mostly true to very true that they actively concealed their MS and most indicated at least some degree of concealment. For people at lower levels of disability, decisions to conceal or disclose were not related to their levels of psychosocial reserve. However, with rising disability, concealment predicted lower levels of psychosocial reserve. Concealment was also associated with improved disability status 1 year later. A mediation analysis suggests that this may be in part because people who concealed were more likely to be employed. Taken together, the current research adds to the evidence that consequences of concealment often may be multifaceted and depend on a variety of moderators, including degree of disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-378
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Fingerprint

chronic illness
disability
multiple sclerosis
psychological consequences
health consequences
moderator
mediation
research project
well-being
evidence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Cook, Jonathan Emdin ; Salter, Amber ; Stadler, Gertraud. / Identity Concealment and Chronic Illness : A Strategic Choice. In: Journal of Social Issues. 2017 ; Vol. 73, No. 2. pp. 359-378.
@article{20d85b93d78342ef8646682ca8600ad4,
title = "Identity Concealment and Chronic Illness: A Strategic Choice",
abstract = "The research presented here investigates potential psychological and health consequences of concealing a chronic illness. Data were collected from 2,500 individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS), as part of an ongoing longitudinal research project. Questions on identity concealment and psychosocial reserve (a broad measure of well-being) were embedded in a semi-annual national survey. Responses were linked to each participant's concurrent responses to questions about their disability status, and prospectively to the same measure of disability status 1 year later. Just over 16{\%} of respondents indicated that it was mostly true to very true that they actively concealed their MS and most indicated at least some degree of concealment. For people at lower levels of disability, decisions to conceal or disclose were not related to their levels of psychosocial reserve. However, with rising disability, concealment predicted lower levels of psychosocial reserve. Concealment was also associated with improved disability status 1 year later. A mediation analysis suggests that this may be in part because people who concealed were more likely to be employed. Taken together, the current research adds to the evidence that consequences of concealment often may be multifaceted and depend on a variety of moderators, including degree of disability.",
author = "Cook, {Jonathan Emdin} and Amber Salter and Gertraud Stadler",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/josi.12221",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "73",
pages = "359--378",
journal = "Journal of Social Issues",
issn = "0022-4537",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "2",

}

Identity Concealment and Chronic Illness : A Strategic Choice. / Cook, Jonathan Emdin; Salter, Amber; Stadler, Gertraud.

In: Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 73, No. 2, 01.06.2017, p. 359-378.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Identity Concealment and Chronic Illness

T2 - A Strategic Choice

AU - Cook, Jonathan Emdin

AU - Salter, Amber

AU - Stadler, Gertraud

PY - 2017/6/1

Y1 - 2017/6/1

N2 - The research presented here investigates potential psychological and health consequences of concealing a chronic illness. Data were collected from 2,500 individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS), as part of an ongoing longitudinal research project. Questions on identity concealment and psychosocial reserve (a broad measure of well-being) were embedded in a semi-annual national survey. Responses were linked to each participant's concurrent responses to questions about their disability status, and prospectively to the same measure of disability status 1 year later. Just over 16% of respondents indicated that it was mostly true to very true that they actively concealed their MS and most indicated at least some degree of concealment. For people at lower levels of disability, decisions to conceal or disclose were not related to their levels of psychosocial reserve. However, with rising disability, concealment predicted lower levels of psychosocial reserve. Concealment was also associated with improved disability status 1 year later. A mediation analysis suggests that this may be in part because people who concealed were more likely to be employed. Taken together, the current research adds to the evidence that consequences of concealment often may be multifaceted and depend on a variety of moderators, including degree of disability.

AB - The research presented here investigates potential psychological and health consequences of concealing a chronic illness. Data were collected from 2,500 individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS), as part of an ongoing longitudinal research project. Questions on identity concealment and psychosocial reserve (a broad measure of well-being) were embedded in a semi-annual national survey. Responses were linked to each participant's concurrent responses to questions about their disability status, and prospectively to the same measure of disability status 1 year later. Just over 16% of respondents indicated that it was mostly true to very true that they actively concealed their MS and most indicated at least some degree of concealment. For people at lower levels of disability, decisions to conceal or disclose were not related to their levels of psychosocial reserve. However, with rising disability, concealment predicted lower levels of psychosocial reserve. Concealment was also associated with improved disability status 1 year later. A mediation analysis suggests that this may be in part because people who concealed were more likely to be employed. Taken together, the current research adds to the evidence that consequences of concealment often may be multifaceted and depend on a variety of moderators, including degree of disability.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85020861353&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85020861353&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/josi.12221

DO - 10.1111/josi.12221

M3 - Article

VL - 73

SP - 359

EP - 378

JO - Journal of Social Issues

JF - Journal of Social Issues

SN - 0022-4537

IS - 2

ER -