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Scand J Caring Sci. 2011 Mar;25(1):81-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00793.x.

The quest for well-being: self-identified needs of women in chronic pain.

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School of Health Sciences, University of Akureyri, Akureyri, Iceland.


Women suffer more chronic pain in most Western countries than men, with considerable consequences for the sufferers. The aim of this phenomenological research was to study self-reported needs of women in chronic pain. The data consisted of ten in-depth interviews, which lasted from 60 to 120 minutes each, with five women in chronic pain, aged 36-53. Twelve needs were identified in the study, which were categorized into three clusters of needs or major quests: The quest to learn to live with the pain, which involves the need for diagnosis; the need to find effective treatment and keep the pain tolerable; the need for helpful advice and information and the need to take care of self and for a different pace and a new life pattern. The quest for support, caring and connection which involves the need for someone close who cares; the need to be connected to others and have someone to care for; the need for practical support e.g. financial support and household assistance and the need for professional support and caring. Finally, the quest for normalcy which involves the need to avoid the sick role and maintain a sense of dignity; the need to focus on personal strengths and prevent discouragement and depression; the need to be involved in decision-making regarding own care and treatment and the need to participate in family and social activities to fight isolation and loneliness. The overriding theme in all these quests is the quest for well-being; physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Conflicting needs created five major dilemmas in the women's lives. Women in chronic pain may be seen in any clinical setting and health professionals need to be able to recognize their needs in order to be able to give effective care, to cooperate with them and empower them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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