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Living with chronic pain – a qualitative study

By Sue Marie Peacock


Pain is both a medical problem and also an everyday experience for chronic pain patients. Attending to the biomedical aspects is important, but the emphasis on this can result in a failure to consider how the patients perceive and live with their chronic pain. The management of sensation over understanding emotion in traditional medical and psychological approaches has resulted in the lack of attention to the lived experience of chronic pain therefore neglecting broader issues of how culture and social factors influence pain. The UK is becoming more culturally diverse therefore there is a growing necessity to understand any influences of culture and ethnicity in pain management.\ud The aims of this study were to address what is the patient’s experience of living with chronic pain followed by an appraisal of how or if ethnicity (White British or South Asian) influences the experience of living with chronic pain. The empirical work undertaken comprised of qualitative analysis of thirty-seven semi-structured interviews with patients attending a pain clinic in a culturally diverse city. The qualitative methodology used was Grounded Theory therefore a review of the literature was conducted after the initial empirical work. The literature itself was subjected to qualitative analysis and a narrative review was produced. The final element involved generating a synthesis of the narrative review and a theoretical model was produced from the empirical work. Important constructs of living with chronic pain were identified as affect, participants‟ expectations of the consultation, the reality of living with chronic pain and legitimization of chronic pain, and relationships between them were discussed.\ud This thesis explored patients’ narratives with a view to uncovering differences between the pain experience for different demographic groups (e.g. age, gender and ethnicity). However, the data suggest that there are more similarities than differences between groups; this may be partly explained by acculturation. Research into newly arrived ethnic groups in the UK might reveal more differences in their perception of health, illness and pain

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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