Exploring the altered daily geographies and lifeworlds of women living with Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A mixed-method approach

Journal: Social Science and Medicine. 2006 Oct 30; [E-publication ahead of print] Author and affiliation: Crooks VA. Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6. PMID: 17079063

In this paper I employ data triangulation in order to investigate the complex nature of the altered lifeworlds and daily geographies of women living with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). More specifically, I use the findings of in-depth interviews and a standardized test (the Sickness Impact Profile [SIP]) in a mixed-method approach to understanding how women's lives change after the onset of FMS and how their changing bodies and locations in society and space shape such altered lifeworlds.

These data were collected from 55 women living with FMS in Ontario, Canada. The experiential evidence shared during the interviews is used to qualify or explain certain phenomena observed within the SIP dataset. I focus on four specific experiences in the women's lives; these are the:
(1) onset of mental haziness and fatigue;
(2) development of disrupted sleep/sleep disorders;
(3) removal from paid labour; and
(4) withdrawal from social and recreational activities.

It is found that changes in the women's bodies precipitated some of the most significant life changes experienced, including altered identities and diminished incomes, and that altered bodily realities facilitated or denied access to socio-spatial life. At the same time, the women's changing locations in society and space also played a role in bringing about such changes.

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