UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation of how chronic pain has affected individuals' personally significant activities Murray, John W.


The emergence of chronic pain is often a disruptive event across multiple dimensions of individuals’ lives. Several models have been suggested in efforts to identify mediating factors between pain and disability, as well as helpful psychological interventions. Much of this recent research has examined the efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). The current study used inductive thematic analysis to examine participant narratives of the effects of chronic pain on the personally significant activities of individuals living with chronic pain. Eight participants (5 female, 3 male) were interviewed using a combination of autobiographical lifelines and qualitative narrative interviews. Results of the analysis showed two main themes: Activity Loss and Interruption, and Activity Gain and Maintenance. There were 18 sub-themes gathered under Activity Loss and Interruption, and 17 sub-themes gathered under Activity Gain and Maintenance. These themes exhibited that participants experienced the effects of chronic pain across somatic, psychological, interpersonal, behavioural, and environmental domains. In turn, these effects either contributed directly or indirectly to the loss or interruption of their personally significant activities, or the participants expressed adaptive responses or facilitating environmental factors that helped them gain activities or maintain their current activity levels. The findings of this study subsumed the constructs of Psychological Flexibility (PF) and Psychological Inflexibility, pain catastrophizing, and self-efficacy, all of which were present in the lives of the participants in the context of living with chronic pain and experiencing its effects on their personally significant activities. Additionally, the findings showed how participants were able to engage behaviourally with activities even while expressing statements reflective ofiv Psychological Inflexibility. Finally, the findings also highlighted the importance of facilitating and inhibiting environmental factors, which are not currently accounted for in the ACT model of treatment for chronic pain. The clinical and research implication of these findings are discussed.

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