Illness perceptions of Turkish Cypriot patients receiving haemodialysis: A qualitative study

Buse Keskindag, Ken Farrington, Duriye D. Oygar, Biran Mertan, Abigail Hucker, Shivani Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Illness perceptions refer to cognitive appraisals that help patients understand and make sense of their condition. Although their importance in health behaviour and outcomes has been evidenced, less is known about cultural influences on mental representations of kidney failure amongst patients receiving haemodialysis in different settings.

To explore the illness perceptions of Turkish patients receiving haemodialysis in North Cyprus (Turkish Cypriots).

A qualitative study involving individual semistructured interviews.

Fourteen patients receiving haemodialysis, recruited from three state hospitals in North Cyprus.

All interviews were conducted in Turkish, audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. They were analysed inductively in the original language using reflexive thematic analysis. Once the analysis was completed, it was translated into English. Quality assurance was integral to the research process to retain semantic equivalence.

Three themes were developed. “Illness appraisal” highlighted a lack of factual knowledge about kidney failure and how this is related to attempts at sense-making, whilst retaining hope for the future. “Life-changing effects” centred around the negative consequences of haemodialysis across multiple domains (e.g., emotional and physical). “Active coping strategies” focused on mechanisms that patients adopt to manage the burden of haemodialysis, particularly approaches that are culturally rooted.

There is a need for better communication to address the lack of individual patient knowledge about kidney failure. Haemodialysis is described as a burdensome treatment though existing coping mechanisms suggest that psycho-spiritual interventions may be advantageous to aid adjustment for Turkish Cypriots receiving haemodialysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
JournalJournal of Renal Care
Issue number2
Early online date10 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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