In brief: Sick, not sad

In Brief

Sick, not sad

People who don't have to live with chronic illness or the long-term effects of a debilitating injury sometimes imagine the prospect with dread; they may envision themselves consumed by frustration, regret, and depression. It isn't so, several studies have shown.

In one of the studies, researchers looked at 49 patients with failing kidneys who required a strict diet and hours of hemodialysis at least three times a week. They were compared to 49 healthy controls matched for age, race, sex, and education.

All participants completed a questionnaire on their moods, stating the proportion of time they spent, on average, at each of five different mood levels, from very pleasant to very unpleasant. Then they carried a specially programmed handheld organizer device for a week as they went about their daily lives. Each day, at random intervals, the device prompted them to describe and rate their moods on the five-point scale, to note any pain or physical discomfort, and occasionally to evaluate their overall satisfaction with life.

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