Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A qualitative investigation of how men experience fibromyalgia.
Author: Watts, Janine.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3564 594X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1999
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This qualitative study describes the experience of eight men with fibromyalgia (FM). Data from repeated semi-structured interviews was analysed using the constant comparative method, in order to generate a grounded theory. The specific aims were to explore how individuals perceived and made sense of their condition, and to discover the impact of FM upon their sense of identity and intimate relationships. Two core categories emerged from data analysis - loss and limited understanding. Losses pertained to the men's capabilities and activities; role and identity; work; and relationships. Limited understanding was described in relation to three levels of experience: limited understanding by the individual sufferer; by other people; and by health care professionals. Various intervening and contextual variables were identified for each phenomenon. Analysis suggested that loss is more likely to be pronounced where pain is severe and constant; the degree of incapacity is high; and there is a complete cessation of work. Intervening conditions likely to reduce the sense of loss included role expectations consistent with capabilities; absence of young dependants; a flexible work environment; living with a partner; favourable social comparisons; high self-efficacy and accepting attitude towards illness. Limited understanding was likely to be more pronounced where the individual perceived no rational link between the triggering event and symptoms of FM, and where new difficulties were encountered. The individual was more likely to perceive that others misunderstood their situation if they were not using a mobility aid themselves. Individuals were more likely to perceive limited understanding by the medical profession where the GP had not been especially supportive, and where contact with the specialist was unsatisfactory. Limited understanding was exacerbated by intervening variables including lack of contact with other FM sufferers and a treatment history focusing on 'fixing' the problem. Men with FM struggled to find meaning in their experience. Some individuals were able to locate possible causes, but all the men were unable to fully understand their condition. The analysis suggested that the experience of FM varies for different men. The study reveals that FM is a complex experience characterised by loss, which sufferers and health care professionals struggle to understand. Implications for health care practice and further research are discussed. This study will help FM sufferers understand their condition more fully. Moreover, it should enrich the understanding of health care professionals - thereby facilitating encounters characterised by greater support and empathy for men with FM.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chronic pain management; FM; Health care practice