Theme 4: “Striving to adapt”

Adjustment to life with severe asthma
 Good adjustment“Asthma doesn't dominate my lifestyle. It's part of who I am.” (Paul, male, 62years)
 Poor adjustment“[It's] crap [sic] … [asthma] affects every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year of my life.” (Stephanie, female, 38years)
Positive coping strategies
 Acquiring self-management skills“It wasn't really until I had a full asthma plan working closely with a specialist, which is now many years ago, that I was actually able to get all those things under control.” (Paul, male, 62years)
 Managing emotional problems“Stop wallowing in self-pity basically … Try and camouflage it with something else … Like I might go out. Get out and walk the streets, and look in shop windows.” (Larry, male, 54years)
 Switching to doable activities“I do exercise with people who know my limitations and they don't care if I stop or whatever … Yeah, I don't make myself do [things] that make me really wheezy … I just don't put myself with those people that run their 42 km marathon because I know I couldn't do something like that.” (Cheryl, female, 53years)
Negative coping strategies
 Pushing through“Being in a state where I probably should've been in hospital because my lung function was that bad … having to get it done [at work] because the guy standing next to you is perfectly healthy … and you've got to keep up with him.” (Larry, male, 54years)
 Risk aversion/exertion restriction“Like this morning I had to go to the eye specialist … which is not far, over the road actually. I thought ‘Will I walk? No I'll drive because I might get out of breath’.” (Gloria, female, 81years)
 Vigilant monitoring of symptoms“I am so in control of my asthma now. I do not let myself have an attack. If I get the slightest inkling that something's happening, I am onto that nebuliser like you wouldn't believe!” (Jacinta, female, 63years)
Childhood experiences“I avoid doctors like the plague. Because I've seen so many of them I guess. When I was a kid, every time I saw a doctor they'd whack me in hospital. So maybe that's got something to do with it.” (Jacinta, female, 63years)