COPING WITH FUNCTIONAL CONSTIPATION: A PROCESS-ORIENTED APPROACH
Cheng, C., Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Hui, W.M., University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Functional constipation refers to infrequent, difficult, or incomplete defecation without definite causes. There are few population-based Asian studies that have investigated this problem and very little Asian data are available. To fill this gap, the present project examines how individuals with functional constipation utilize personal, social, and/or community resources to handle their constipation-related symptoms. In response to the lack of a theoretical base in the literature on functional constipation, I propose a new model that explicates the process by which individuals with functional constipation think and act to relieve their symptoms. Specifically, this interdisciplinary model aims at exploring (a) why some individuals attempt to reduce their constipation-related symptoms but others choose not to react, (b) how individuals actually think about and handle these symptoms, and (c) which coping methods are effective and which are ineffective in reducing such symptoms. In this model, individuals' subjective perception of the constipation-related symptoms, their attempts to handle the symptoms, and the effectiveness of such attempts are major factors that may influence the severity of symptoms over time. A longitudinal population-based study was conducted to test this model in a sample of Hong Kong adults. Path analysis was used to test this model. Results provided support for this process-oriented model.