Women's experience of SLE-related fatigue: a focus group interview study

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2010 Oct;49(10):1935-42. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keq174. Epub 2010 Jun 23.


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe women's experience of SLE-related fatigue, how they express the feeling of fatigue, impact on life and strategies developed to manage fatigue in daily living.

Method: Seven, semi-structured focus group discussions with 33 women were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and analysed according to qualitative content analysis.

Results: Perceptions of SLE-related fatigue were sorted into four themes. Nature of Fatigue, involved the sensation, occurrence and character. Aspects Affected by Fatigue described emotions that arose together with fatigue as well as aspects of work, family life, social contacts and leisure activities that were affected by fatigue. Striving Towards Power and Control concluded the array of ways used to manage daily life and were categorized into the mental struggle, structure, restrict and provide. Factors Influencing the Perception of Fatigue described understanding from their surroundings and pain as strongly influencing the experience and perception of fatigue.

Conclusion: SLE-related fatigue was portrayed as an overwhelming phenomenon with an unpredictable character, resulting in the feeling that fatigue dominates and controls most situations in life. The choice of strategies was described as a balance with implications for how fatigue limited a person's life. Health care professionals are advised to take a more active role to empower people with SLE to find their own balance as a way to achieve a feeling of being in control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Women / psychology*