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Keywords:

  • chronic pain;
  • family resilience;
  • mixed methods;
  • nursing

Aims and objective.  To measure and explore between 2007–2010 measure and explore the nature of family resilience in the context of families with a member with chronic pain.

Background.  Chronic pain impacts on the entire family. The literature suggests that it is possible to strengthen resilience in individuals with chronic conditions, but little is known about the impact of chronic pain on family resilience.

Design.  A explanatory sequential mixed method study was undertaken.

Methods.  In the initial quantitative phase, assessment measures were administered using the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Family Impact of Pain Scale, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 and Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey. Data were collected and analysed from 31 family cases (n = 67 participants). In the second, qualitative phase, follow-up semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 10 families to help explain the quantitative results.

Results.  The impact of pain on the family was high overall, but the perceived impact was greater for the person with pain. Resilience scores were above average for both the person with pain and other family members. However, the person with pain scored lower on the resilience scale than other members of the family. The families scored high for social support overall, while the person with pain perceived they had greater support than their family members.

Conclusions.  Identifying the strengths or resilient properties inherent in families and using those strengths in the planning and implementation of care, especially of chronic conditions such as chronic pain, is pivotal to quality health outcomes.

Relevance to clinical practice.  It is important that nurses and healthcare professionals include family members when planning and delivering care for persons with chronic pain. Identification of strengths within families can help tailor nursing interventions to meet family needs.