Health-related impact on quality of life and coping strategies for chikungunya: A qualitative study in Curaçao

Jelte Elsinga, Martin P. Grobusch, Adriana Tami, Izzy Gerstenbluth, Ajay Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Chikungunya is an emerging public health problem in tropical and subtropical regions, due to ongoing transmission and its incapacitating acute disease phase, and chronic sequelae. The disease is responsible for a major impact on Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL), which may last several years. To our knowledge, this study is the first qualitative examination of HRQoL and coping strategies of chikungunya-infected individuals. Methods: Qualitative research methods consisted of 20 in-depth interviews and seven Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), n = 50. Analysis was based on the principles of the grounded theory. Results: Different impacts on HRQoL were reported. The physical and emotional domains of the HRQoL were mainly affected by chikungunya, while social and individual financial consequences were limited. Individual financial impact was limited through the universal health care program of Curaçao. Long-term lingering musculoskeletal and other manifestations caused significant pain and limited mobility. Hence, participants experienced dependency, impairment of normal daily life activities, moodiness, hopelessness, a change of identity, and insecurity about their future. The unpredictable nature and consequences of chikungunya gave rise to various coping strategies. Problem-focused coping styles led to higher uptake of medical care and were linked to more negative impact of HRQoL, whereas emotional coping strategies focusing on acceptance of the situation were linked to less uptake of medical care and more positive impact on HRQoL. Conclusions: This study provides an in-depth understanding of acute and long-term HRQoL impact of chikungunya. The results can better inform health promotion policies and interventions. Messages to the public should focus on promoting healthy and efficient coping strategies, in order to prevent additional stress in affected individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0005987
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 09-10-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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