Coping with fibromyalgia. A qualitative study

Scand J Caring Sci. 2000;14(1):29-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2000.tb00558.x.


This study aims to describe, from the perspective of patients with fibromyalgia themselves, their experiences of having to live with chronic pain and how they manage their situation. The sample consists of 22 female patients (22-60 years). Open-ended in-depth interviews were analysed by a method directed by the tradition of Grounded Theory. Three descriptive categories were grounded in the data, labelled subjective pain language, diversified pain coping, and pain communication. These descriptive categories formed the higher-order, or core, concept preoccupied with pain. Having to live with chronic pain seems to include that the sufferer becomes self-centred and preoccupied with the pain: the pain is mostly present and affects every aspect of life, leading to a continuous awareness of and coping with the pain. Pain tends to interrupt normal life, demands attention and is difficult to disengage from. Although coping should not be evaluated in terms of good and bad, passivity, escape behaviours, and resignation/catastrophizing, which dominated in the present study sample, might affect social and psychological functioning negatively. Patients with fibromyalgia might benefit from psychological support in coping with their pain and from reinforcement of healthy behaviours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain