Purpose: Research shows that gender has a substantial impact on the health behaviour such as expression of physical symptoms like persistent pains and aches. However, there is yet little knowledge about the gendered aspect of pain by men who suffer from typical female diseases like fibromyalgia. The purpose of the study was to elucidate the interplay between illness and gender by exploring life-stories of men who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Methods: The data were collected through life-story interviews of eight men suffering from fibromyalgia. A narrative methodology for analysis was applied to explore the storytelling and the linguistic and performative aspects of the life-stories.
Results: The masculine identity of the participants was re-negotiated by comparisons to other men and life before symptom onset, and by discussing expectations and beliefs of how men should act in contemporary societies. The transition from experiencing a strong, active and reliable body to experiencing a painful, vulnerable and helpless body was perceived as fundamental.
Conclusions: Self-management and rehabilitation of fibromyalgia it is not only about learning to manage the symptoms but also about the struggle to find coherence in life through re-constructing gender identity that is acceptable both for the individual and for the community.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International