Gunilla Lindqvist is a Registered Nurse (RN), Master´s degree in Public Health, Senior Lecturer, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Post doctor within the subject of Health and Caring Science. Gunilla is working as a Senior Lecturer at School of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University Campus Kalmar and Växjö and has now a postdoctoral position at Linnaeus University. Gunilla Lindquist’s research focuses on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the sufferer themselves and their spouses. Gunilla works in a research project focusing on innovative solutions to meet future healthcare needs and preferences of older people and their carers.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an increasing health problem that affects about 600 million people globally, and it is expected to be the third most common cause of death worldwide by 2020. COPD is a chronic long-term condition that is irrevocable. Cigarette smoking is the most commonly encountered risk factor for COPD, and it has also been shown that passive smoking impairs lung function. When the disease progresses, not only is the lung fiction impaired, but there are also other consequences as physical, psychological and social. Aim The aim of the study was to generate a theory, grounded in empirical data, to reveal the main concerns of people who suffer from COPD and how they handle everyday life. Method The constant comparative method of grounded theory, developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967), was used. Data was collected by interviewing 23 people with COPD all having different grades of the disease, from mild to severe. Findings A substantive theory was generated showing that the main concern for people suffering from COPD was feelings of guilt due to self-inflicted disease associated with smoking habits. This includes feelings of living in the shadow of death. This core category was linked to five categories termed making sense of existence, adjusting to bodily restrictions, surrendering to faith, making excuses for the smoking related cause, and creating compliance with daily medication. These categories form a pattern of behavior that explains how feelings of guilt were handled by people living with COPD.

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