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Title: The influence of social comparison on the perception of quality of life amongst people living with epilepsy in Iran and the United Kingdom
Author: Ghaemian Oskouei, Aisan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 2363
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2016
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Epileptic seizures are usually stressful episodes for individuals, not least as they are often experienced in public. Most research into epilepsy has been conducted in Western cultures, and we know little about the experiences of people with epilepsy and living in Middle Eastern countries. This study aims to examine the influence of social comparison on the perception of quality of life for people with epilepsy in Iran and in the United Kingdom. Three studies were completed. Two studies were qualitative; exploring individuals’ experiences of living with epilepsy and investigating coping strategies, respectively, (UK = 10, Iran = 10), for each study. Thematic analysis was used for data analysis. The third quantitative study was examined to determine whether social comparison dimensions, (upward negative, upward positive, downward negative, downward positive), predict quality of life in both countries, (N = 100 for each country), and a hierarchical multiple regression was used to analyse data. The first study indicated people compare themselves to others and the unpredictable nature of a seizure causes individuals to perceive negative feelings and experience anxiety, furthermore urinary incontinence attached to seizures appeared to leave people feeling ashamed and anxious. Study two revealed that whilst Iranian people used emotion-focused coping strategies, individuals from the United Kingdom applied problem-focused coping strategies. In Iran religious coping strategies were used to cope with incontinency; however positive social comparison (downward) was used as a coping strategy for incontinency in the United Kingdom. Study three found that self-esteem was the main predictor for quality of life in Iran and the United Kingdom. Whilst a seizure’s severity negatively predicts quality of life in the United Kingdom, positive social comparison (upward) accounted for quality of life in Iran. This study suggests that providing positive role models can help Iranians have a better perception for their quality of life, whereas British people potentially maximise their quality of life through seizure management.
Supervisor: Dibb, B. ; Gaines, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychological well-being ; Psychosocial adaptation ; Copying strategy ; Biopsychosocial model ; Health related quality of life model