UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mothers with arthritis : experiences in the stories of mothering Del Fabro, Linda


Motherhood has been described as an identity, a role, and a way of participating in life (Arendell, 2000; Farber, 2004). Motherhood has also been described as 'work', the care taking, nurturing and teaching of children (Francis-Connolly, 2000). Mothers with arthritis have reported difficulty in the tasks of parenting and household work (Allaire et al., 1991; Backman, Kennedy, Chalmers & Singer, 2004; Barlow, Cullen, Foster, Harrison & Wade, 1999; Grant, Cullen & Barlow, 2000; Reisine, Grady, Goodenow & Fifield, 1998), however, we know little about how a mother experiences these challenges. While the subjective experience of being a mother and having a disability is intrinsically linked to participation, health and social interaction (Farber, 2004), research has not been conducted on how mothers with arthritis experience mothering in the presence of arthritis, and how this experience affects their participation, identity and social interaction. This narrative research study asks "How is being a mother and doing motherhood activities affected by your arthritis?" Study objectives include: 1) Describe mothers' experiences of nurturing, teaching and caring for their children. 2) Describe how mothers understand and explain the effect of arthritis on their role of mother. 3) Describe whether or not this understanding changes how mothers participate and interact in their community. Narrative inquiry was used to explore the experiences of eight married mothers with inflammatory arthritis who have at least one child (aged 0-18) living at home. Purposive sampling allowed representation of families from different communities, with children of different ages. Data collection included two in-depth interviews, participant observation, document review, and fine art painting. Data was coded and analyzed using narrative inquiry techniques (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996; Riessman, 1993; Sandelowski, 1991). Overarching storylines are presented as narratives that describe the mother's experiences of identifying with the role of mother, participation, fatigue and the social context in which mothering occurs. This study contributes to the sparse body of literature on the impact of arthritis on participation in maternal practices and social interaction, informing health professionals about the experience of mothering with arthritis.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International