How can we learn to live with pain? A Q-methodological analysis of the diverse understandings of acceptance of chronic pain

A Risdon, C Eccleston, G Crombez, L McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

140 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An analysis is reported of the variety of understandings available in British culture to understand acceptance of chronic pain. Q-factor analysis is used within a critical framework as Q-methodology. Thirty participants completed the procedure. Eight factors or accounts of accepting chronic pain were derived. These are reported as taking control, living day to day, acknowledging limitations, empowerment, accepting loss of self, more to life than pain, don't fight battles that cannot be won, and spiritual strength. Common features of accepting chronic pain are (1) the acknowledgement that a cure for pain is unlikely,:(2) a shift of focus away from pain to non-pain aspects of life, and (3) a resistance to any suggestion that pain is a sign of personal weakness. Where accounts of chronic pain differ is in the extent to which acceptance of pain means a change in core aspects of self. Implications of this study for the study of chronic pain are discussed. In particular, how identity is managed in the context of threatening chronic pain is suggested as a fruitful area of future investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-386
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

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