Location of Repository

‘Idle Devils’ and ‘Household Engineers’: Identity in Chronic Widespread Pain

By Jane C. Richardson, Bie Nio Ong and Julius Sim

Abstract

Chronic widespread pain, in which pain is experienced in multiple bodily\ud areas, is estimated to affect between 4.7% and 11.2% of the population but\ud little is known about the experiences of this group of people. Previous research\ud on chronic illness has offered insights into the ways in which sufferers attempt\ud to construct new identities or maintain old ones, which may be relevant to the\ud experience of people with chronic widespread pain. This paper is based on\ud ongoing research which uses in-depth interviews, diaries and family member\ud interviews to explore the experiences of this group of people. The paper uses\ud the accounts of two men and their spouses to explore the ways in which key\ud features of chronic widespread pain may influence identity. For Harry, the\ud invisibility of pain raises possible accusations of ‘idleness’ or malingering,\ud leading to attempts to maintain identity as a worker, despite the uncertainties of\ud a chronic condition. Harry attempts to reduce the impact of his illness on his\ud identity, through presenting himself as part of the wider group of the\ud unemployed, leading to additional tensions. In contrast, Duncan creates a new\ud identity as a ‘household engineer’, demonstrating his physical competence and\ud control over aspects of his condition through performance of household chores.\ud He, and his wife, present his pain onset as a positive opportunity to renegotiate\ud their roles within the family. The accounts of Harry and Duncan provide\ud insight into the experiences of living with chronic widespread pain and the\ud different ways in which lost identities can be recreated

Topics: R1, H1
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:5027

Suggested articles

Preview

Citations

  1. (1994). A body in pain - the making of a world of chronic pain, in
  2. (1993). Chronic illness and the pursuit of virtue in everyday life, in A. Radley (ed), Worlds of Illness: biographical and cultural perspectives on health and disease (pp.92-108), doi
  3. (1982). Chronic illness as biographical disruption, doi
  4. (1983). Chronic Pain: Its Social Dimensions, doi
  5. (1996). Collecting data through joint interviews,
  6. (1991). Good Days, Bad Days: The self in chronic illness and time, doi
  7. (1997). Identity dilemmas of chronically ill men, doi
  8. (1984). Idle Devils’ and ‘Household Engineers’: Identity in Chronic Widespread Pain
  9. (2001). Illness narratives: fact or fiction? doi
  10. (2001). Joint and individual interviewing in the context of cancer, doi
  11. (1999). Life course data collection: Qualitative interviewing using the life grid, doi
  12. (2003). Performing identities in illness narrative: masculinity and multiple sclerosis, doi
  13. (1990). Strategic uses of narrative in the presentation of self and illness - a research note, doi
  14. (1987). Struggling for a self: identity levels of the chronically ill, in
  15. (1991). The Culture of doi
  16. (1984). The genesis of chronic illness: narrative reconstruction, doi
  17. (1999). The prevalence and associated features of chronic widespread pain in the community using the ‘Manchester’ definition of chronic widespread pain, doi
  18. (1993). The prevalence of chronic widespread pain in the general population,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.