Coping with fibromyalgia - a focus group study

Liat Hamama, Michal Itzhaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Fibromyalgia affects patients’ quality of life. Therefore, an essential part of patients’ medical management is to develop appropriate coping strategies. This study aimed to obtain a comprehensive picture of patients’ cognitive and behavioural strategies to cope with fibromyalgia. Methods: A qualitative design was conducted based on the grounded theory method. Two focus group discussion sessions were held with 15 Israeli women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A constant comparative analysis method was utilized. Results: The findings of themes related to women’s coping with fibromyalgia included: Emotional coping, with two categories: (a) from repression and despair to acceptance and completion, and (b) a range of negative and positive emotions; Practical coping, with three categories: (a) the agonizing process of receiving/internalizing the diagnosis, (b) living with the symptoms, and (c) changing lifestyle; Coping with the social environment, with three categories: (a) sharing vs. concealing, (b) social connection—disconnection, and (c) environmental resources. In addition, we identified a theme on the patients’ perceptions of the causes of their fibromyalgia that effect their coping, with three categories: (a) demanding lifestyle; (b) traumatic life events; and (c) personality trait—perfectionism. Conclusion: It would be desirable for rheumatology units to have an interdisciplinary professional team to work together with patients to consider how best to manage and effectively cope with their condition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2204622
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Fibromyalgia
  • constant comparative analysis
  • coping
  • focus group
  • women


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