The lonely battle for dignity: individuals struggling with multiple sclerosis

Nurs Ethics. 2010 May;17(3):301-11. doi: 10.1177/0969733010361439.


Much is known about the phenomenon of dignity, yet there is still a need for implementing this understanding in clinical practice. The main purpose of this study was to find out how persons suffering from multiple sclerosis experience and understand dignity and violation in the context of a rehabilitation ward. A phenomenological-hermeneutic approach was used to extract the meaningful content of narratives from 14 patients with multiple sclerosis. Data were collected by personal research interviews. The findings revealed three main themes: (1) 'invisibly captured in fatigue'; (2) 'fighters' law: one who does not ask will not receive'; and (3) 'dignity is humanity'. The essence of the findings in this study is that dignity is humanity. According to the participants, dignity requires time and is experienced only in a context of empathy and mutual confidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Assertiveness
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Communication
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation
  • Norway
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Rights
  • Personhood*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Surveys and Questionnaires