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Title: A qualitative exploration of how young people experience and make sense of medically unexplained symptoms
Author: Willis, Claudia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 7926
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS), symptoms which do not have a full medical explanation, defy expectations of the illness experience and provide significant challenges to medical services. Clinical guidelines recommend the coconstruction of a shared understanding of difficulties. However, this is difficult when symptoms do not have an explanation, and experiences and perspectives of doctors and patients are mismatched. A qualitative approach was utilised to explore how young people experience and make sense of MUS. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine young people who were experiencing symptoms they had been told did not have a full medical explanation. Inductive thematic analysis identified young people with MUS have difficulty making sense of MUS, found it hard living with MUS and were trying to find a way to manage their symptoms and move forward with their lives. Participants struggled to fit within the medical system. Without a language and way to make sense of their experiences, they struggled to integrate this into their developing identity. Participants assumed a personal responsibility for their recovery but struggled with this in the context of feeling excluded and disempowered. Implications for clinical practice are considered, recommending discussion of shared uncertainty and ways of managing uncertainty may be helpful for families and professionals. Suggestions are made for future research to extend the current findings and a critical appraisal of the research is provided.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available