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Young women with fibromyalgia in the United States and Sweden: Perceived difficulties during the first year after diagnosis
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Health, Activity, Care. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Division of Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2006 (English)In: Disability and Rehabilitation, ISSN 0963-8288, Vol. 28, no 19, 1177-1185 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose. The major symptoms of fibromyalgia (FM) - pain, tiredness, disrupted sleep, and muscle weakness - severely impact everyday activities, including the paid work role of women who have had FM for a long time. There are no prospective studies on young and newly diagnosed women with FM. The aim of the present study was to describe and compare difficulties young and newly diagnosed women in Sweden and the United States experienced during their first year after diagnosis.

Method. Three interviews, 6 months apart, were conducted, with 49 Swedish and 45 US women between the ages of 18 and 39. Five open-ended questions were asked concerning physical, psychological and social difficulties and limitations, and factors that increased or decreased their difficulties and limitations. At interviews 2 and 3 the women were also asked about ways of preventing their difficulties. The answers were written down and analysed by a content analysis approach.

Results. Consistent categories of difficulties were reported: symptoms, movements, activities, moods, social network, external factors and coping strategies. More US women were working outside their homes than were their Swedish counterparts and they expressed more difficulties compared with the Swedish women.

Conclusions. In general, difficulties decreased and coping strategies increased over the 1-year period in both groups of newly diagnosed, young women.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 28, no 19, 1177-1185 p.
Keyword [en]
Activities of daily living; qualitative method; content analysis; physical; psychological; social
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13642DOI: 10.1080/09638280600551534OAI: diva2:21097
Available from: 2004-05-21 Created: 2004-05-21
In thesis
1. Women with fibromyalgia: Employment and daily life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women with fibromyalgia: Employment and daily life
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Introduction: The major symptoms of fibromyalgia have been shown to severely impact everyday activities. As a consequence, many women have problems remaining in a work role. Not being able to fulfil valued roles influences quality of life. Moreover, consequences in terms of high costs in compensation for reduced work ability are also of importance for society. Today, the number of young women diagnosed with fibromyalgia is increasing.

Objectives: The general aim of this thesis was to increase and deepen knowledge of the life situation of women with fibromyalgia; to examine how to manage a work role when in constant pain, and especially the situation for newly-diagnosed women.

Subjects and Methods: 278 women with longstanding pain were included. The thesis includes five different studies, two of them with a focus on the work situation, two with focus on young, newly-diagnosed women’s life situation, and one investigating time-use and activity patterns in working and non-working women with fibromyalgia. Methods used are a postal questionnaire, instruments commonly used in fibromyalgia, a diary, and interviews.

Results: Despite limitations in physical capacity, 48% of the women are working, full-time or part-time. However, most job loss is associated with the fibromyalgia symptoms, and the women report that the symptoms influence their daily activities during most of their waking time. There is a rapid increase in sickness absence in the newly-diagnosed women, and the young women in particular do not return to the labour market during the first year after receiving their diagnosis. The non-working women have a more demanding family situation, and are also less satisfied with their present situation than working women.

Conclusion: When individual adjustments of the work situation are made and the women participate to a level that matches their ability, they are able to continue in a work role. In evaluating the women’s work capacity, the total life situation of the women should be considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2004. 47 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 845
work role, newly-diagnosed, time-use, activity pattern, family work
National Category
Clinical Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5184 (URN)91-7373-818-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-04-21, Victoriasalen, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
On the day of the public defence of the doctoral thesis, the status of article III and IV was Submitted.Available from: 2004-05-21 Created: 2004-05-21 Last updated: 2012-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Liedberg, Gunilla M.Henriksson, Chris M.
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