Objectives. This qualitative study investigated the renal patients' experience of positive and negative consequences of transplantation, as well as the strategies they use to adapt to the transplantation.
Design and methods. A qualitative design (30 participants in total), using individual interviews (18 participants) and two focus groups (12 participants in total), was used.
Results. The results showed that patients experienced a wide range of positive and negative emotions, in particular, guilt, gratefulness, and fear, partly as a result of their normative persuasions. Normative persuasions may transform inherent positive emotions into negative emotions and subsequent maladaptive behaviour. Not only physical limitations but also physical improvements were found to be related to the experience of negative emotions. Finally, the results indicated that patients mainly used adaptive coping strategies to adjust to life after transplantation, such as looking for opportunities, setting different priorities, making own choices, trying to maintain control, taking good care of oneself, and appreciating other things in life.
Conclusions. This study offers several new insights regarding the range of experiences of renal patients after transplantation. Health professionals are invited to pay more attention to the full range of positive and negative experiences following transplantation, including the existence of normative persuasions. Health professionals may assist renal patients by helping them to recognize and acknowledge both positive and negative emotions and to encourage the use of more beneficial coping strategies.