Feeds

Chronically ill people 'happier if they abandon hope', say docs

Promises to 'reconnect bowels' make people sad

The next step in data security

Health researchers in America have suggested that it is better for people suffering from severe illness to give up any hope that their condition might improve.

“Hope is an important part of happiness,” said Dr Peter A Ubel, one of the authors of the "happily hopeless" study, “but there’s a dark side of hope".

Essentially, according to Ubel and his colleagues, it's often better to just resign yourself to how awful things are rather than raging against your situation and hoping desperately that it will get better.

The doctors based this on surveys of patients who had their colons removed. Some were told that was it, they were on colostomy bags for life; others were informed that doctors would "reconnect their bowels" at some future date. Apparently the first group reported higher levels of happiness over the next six months.

“We think they were happier because they got on with their lives. They realized the cards they were dealt, and recognized that they had no choice but to play with those cards,” says Ubel, who was teamed up with social scientist George Loewenstein on the study.

The better-living-through-bad-news profs say that the same psychology is seen in other situations. It's better, they argue, to have your spouse die than to have them divorce you.

“If your husband or wife dies, you have closure. There aren’t any lingering possibilities," says Loewenstein.

The very worst thing a doctor can do, according to the profs, is to sugar-coat any medical bad news, or to rashly lay any stress on chances of survival or recovery.

“Hopeful messages may not be in the best interests of the patient and may interfere with the patient’s emotional adaptation,” says Ubel. “I don’t think we should take hope away. But I think we have to be careful about building up people’s hope so much that they put off living their lives."

There's more from Michigan Uni here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.