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Multicenter Study
, 19 (4), 373-80

Social and Existential Alienation Experienced by People With Long-Term Mental Illness

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Multicenter Study

Social and Existential Alienation Experienced by People With Long-Term Mental Illness

Anette Erdner et al. Scand J Caring Sci.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore how people suffering from long-term mental illness and who live in the community experience their daily lives. The study was based on an ethnographic framework involving participant observations with 23 individuals from two rehabilitation centres and interviews with six women and two men. The observational notes and interviews were recorded, transcribed into the data and analysed based on the phases of hermeneutic interpretation. The process consisted of identifying tentative interpretations that highlighted various impediments that prevent people with long-term mental illness from having an active life. The impediments can also be interpreted as a form of alienation, an interpersonal phenomenon and a consequence due to of the lack of social acceptance towards mental illness. The participants expressed concern about the future and lack of hope. Viewing themselves as being 'odd' is not a symptom of mental illness, but rather evidence of experiencing existential and social alienation not only as a consequence of other people's reactions but also their own negative attitudes towards mental illness and effects of their cognitive dysfunction.

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