Phenomenon of Uncertainty as a Subjective Experience



The phenomenon of uncertainty in illness of patients is discussed and analyzed in this article. Uncertainty in illness is a condition that accompanies the patient from the moment of appearance of the first somatic symptoms of the disease and could be strengthened or weakened thanks to many psychosocial factors. The level of uncertainty is related to the level of stress, emotional disadaptation, affective states, coping strategies, mechanisms of psychological defense, etc. Uncertainty can perform destructive functions, acting as a trigger for stressful conditions and launching negative emotional experiences. As a positive function of uncertainty, one can note a possible positive interpretation of the patient's disease. In addition, the state of uncertainty allows the patient to activate the resources of coping with the disease, among which the leading role belongs to social support.

General Information

Keywords: uncertainty in illness, somatic disease, stress, illness’s experience

Journal rubric: Theoretical Research

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Lifintseva A.A., Derkach T.D., Shtolde N. Phenomenon of Uncertainty as a Subjective Experience [Elektronnyi resurs]. Klinicheskaia i spetsial'naia psikhologiia = Clinical Psychology and Special Education, 2018. Vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1–12. DOI: 10.17759/cpse.2018070101. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Alla A. Lifintseva, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Institute for the Humanities, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, e-mail:

Tatiana D. Derkach, Student, Department of Clinical Psychology, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Clinical Psychologist, City Hospital №3, Kaliningrad, Russia, e-mail:

Nikita Shtolde, Student, Department of Clinical Psychology, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, e-mail:



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