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Räty Lena; Gustafsson, Barbro
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2006
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This study identifies emotions in patients with epilepsy as a result of confirming and disconfirming healthcare experiences. A discussion of emotions as a motive for patients' goal-directed actions was a further aim of this study. The critical incident method was used for data collection. Emotions occurring in confirming and disconfirming healthcare encounters were analyzed using the Belief-Desire Theory of Emotions and were categorized as basic, complex, or self-evaluating. Confirming encounters aroused emotions like hope, a feeling of security, joy, relief, and pride, while disconfirming encounters aroused emotions like despair, fear, unrest, resignation, shame, and guilt. The emotions identified in the healthcare encounters were recognized as motives for action. An emotion such as a feeling of security aroused a desire in the patients to strengthen their positive self and motivated them to have a constructive and sympathetic attitude toward the healthcare experience. An emotion such as anger caused patients to strive to maintain their self-respect either by avoiding difficult situations and ignoring the problem (patients with a low self-esteem) or by trying to re-create a positive self-image (patients with a high self-esteem). Healthcare encounters between patient and caregiver considerably affect the patient's emotional status and thereby his or her well-being. The importance of establishing healthcare encounters that evoke positive emotions that strengthen patients' resources must be addressed in future nursing care.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Lena Räty, PhD MNSc RNT, at 46 54 700 1658 or She is a senior lecturer, Division for Health and Caring Sciences, Department of Nursing, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden.

Barbro Gustafsson, PhD RNT, is an associate professor in the Department of Nursing and Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden.

© 2006 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses