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Men’s experiences of rheumatoid arthritis: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Hennessey, Diane (2010) Men’s experiences of rheumatoid arthritis: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Liverpool Hope University.

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Abstract

This study qualitatively explores the psychological impact of rheumatoid arthritis, from the perspective of men who have the disease. Whilst previous research has focused specifically on women’s experiences of rheumatoid arthritis, research examining men’s experiences of the disease is lacking. Thus, the aim of this study is to gain insight and understanding of how men experience rheumatoid arthritis and its treatment. Utilising a combined phenomenological and ethnographic approach, semi- structured interviews were conducted via email with four men who have been diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis. Their data was subjected to an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Themes considered to represent men’s experiences of living with rheumatoid arthritis are presented as Striving for Control, Finding Solace, Challenging Misconceptions and The Need for Purpose. The findings suggest that males’ experiences of the disease have similarities with previously reported females’ experiences, but are also individualistic. The men’s personal perceptions, interpretations and the meanings they attach to their illness form an integral part of their experience. It is concluded that although rheumatoid arthritis necessitates some psychological adjustment, men are able to find opportunities for personal growth following their diagnosis.

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