Assessment of Illness Perception of Chronic Kidney Disease Patients. The Role of Demographic and Clinical Characteristics

Introduction: Patients 'perceptions about their disease, that is, patients' subjective cognitive beliefs about their symptoms and illness, have been found to be associated with various outcomes and health parameters. Perceptions of patients with chronic kidney disease are associated with the impact that renal replacement therapy exert on their life. The purpose of the present study was to explore perceptions of hemodialysis patients about their disease. Material and Method: The sample of the study consisted of 367 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) undergoing hemodialysis in various hospitals in Greece. Data were collected by the completion of the Illness Perception Questionnaire. Statistical analysis were done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20, and the statistical method of Pearson correlation and t-tests. The level of statistical significance was set at ≤5%. Results: Total score of the Illness Perception Questionnaire was 42.70±13.41, which indicates that the majority of patients had an overall negative perception of the disease. More in detail, negative perception of the disease had participants with advanced age (p <0.001), those living in the countryside (p=0.039), individuals with increased number of children (p=0.037), non-Christians (p=0.025), those with co morbidities (p<0,001) and those with physical burden (p<0.001). Conclusions: Illness perceptions of patients with CKD are associated with various socio-demographic and clinical factors, such as age, place of residence, number of children, religion, co morbidity and physical burden. The above factors should be taken into account in the design of clinical practice. Proper interventions may significantly contribute in reducing patients' negative perceptions.