This study aimed to investigate the psycho-social experiences of individuals with a tuberculosis diagnosis and to explore processes related to stigma and coping in this context. Towards this aim, in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 adults who had received pulmonary tuberculosis diagnosis at different dispensaries in İstanbul, and who were in different stages of treatment. The data was analyzed using Thematic Analysis and the MAXQDA software. The findings were organized under 1) Psychosocial effects of receiving a tuberculosis diagnosis, 2) Coping, and 3) Factors that account for the differences in the experiences. Findings are discussed in the light of existing literature and strengths and limitations of the current study as well as recommendations for future research are presented. In line with the literature, issues related to interpersonal relationships and finances were the most salient matters that came to fore and were interwoven with accounts of stigma related experiences such as fear of infecting others, interpersonal distancing and difficulties with self-disclosure. As expected, availability of social support was an important stress buffer. That the reported responses by others were not exclusively stigmatizing, and that attempts at sympathy and care were also observed support the findings of previous research in Turkey that has found recipients of TB to be moderately stigmatized by others. Arguments are made both for the need to educate the public to reduce societal stigma, as well as for psychosocial interventions with individuals with TB diagnosis based on possible predictors of the differences in experiences with the illness.
Keywords: Tuberculosis, stigma, psychosocial effects, quality of life, coping