People living with a chronic illness can experience uncertainty about their physical conditions, identities, and relationships. One way individuals cope with this uncertainty is through managing information related to their illness. We conducted in-depth interviews with 38 pretransplant and posttransplant patients and analyzed the transcripts using grounded theory techniques. Participants reported that they managed their uncertainty related to transplantation by seeking and avoiding specific information and by strategically handling personal and social information. Participants also described a number of challenges associated with their information use. We discuss the theoretical implications of these findings for literature on information management, uncertainty in illness, and organ transplantation. In addition, we highlight practical implications for medical professionals as well as transplant patients and their loved ones, and we suggest that future research might usefully address what role uncertainty appraisal plays for people coping with chronic illness.
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