Think you’re sicker than your doctor believes you are? You might be right, a new study suggests.
Researchers from University of Auckland and King's College have found people’s perceptions of how sick they are can have a significant effect on their overall health and survival.
The study, published in in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, is that latest to suggest a mind-body connection and the power of positive thinking when it comes to health.
The researchers tracked a series of studies on patients’ perceptions of illness. They found a person’s perceptions of how sick they are can have an impact on their level of functioning and ability, and whether they seek health care and adhere to treatment plans laid out by their doctors.
Those perceptions can even have a bigger effect their survival than the actual severity of a patient’s disease, the authors write.
As a result, they said, understanding how patients perceive their own illnesses should be incorporated into their care. Doctors who ask how their patients feel, for instance, could have the chance to correct any fallacies or encourage them to reconsider any inaccurate views they may have, they added.