Quest, chaos and restitution: a qualitative study of the experiences of individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome

Diver, Claire J. (2012) Quest, chaos and restitution: a qualitative study of the experiences of individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Purpose: To describe the experiences of individuals recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) using Arthur Frank's narrative typologies.

Relevance: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a musculoskeletal condition of unknown aetiology characterised by chronic widespread pain and poor sleep. There is an absence of studies investigating the illness experience of those recently diagnosed.

Participants: A theoretical sampling strategy was used to identify 23 individuals (22 female, 1 male) with a first diagnosis of FMS by a Consultant Rheumatologist.

Methods: Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews (over a 24 month period) were used to identify the perceptions and experiences of individuals recently diagnosed with FMS. The methodological principles underpinning the study were drawn from pragmatism, critical reflection and feminism (data collection). The design was iterative and emergent.

Analysis: Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Narrative thematic analysis was used to analysis the textual data from the interviews.

Results: The experience of being diagnosed and living with FMS is biographically disruptive, threatens Identity and challenges patients' understandings of their bodies and the lives they live. Consistent with Arthur Frank's narrative typologies 3 dominant themes of quest, chaos and restitution were identified within the illness experiences of individuals living with FMS. This thesis however challenges Frank's narrative of quest, and proposes the division of this narrative into sub-categories: active engagement and active dis-engagement. Each narrative preference is not uniform but contains common characteristics as it is told through the unique perceptions and experiences of the individual.

Conclusions: It is not possible to homogenise the illness experience of individuals with FMS but their narratives contain unifying plotlines. By allowing individuals the opportunity to recount their stories clinicians might recognise these plotlines and understand how the illness experience of FMS is being interpreted.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Avis, M.
Keywords: Fibromyalgia, Experience of illness, Chronic disease, Semi-structured interviews, Identity
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WE Muscoskeletal system
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Nursing
Item ID: 14277
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2014 09:34
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 15:58

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