Experiencing chronic widespread pain in a family context: giving and receiving practical and emotional support


Address for correspondence: Jane C. Richardson, Primary Care Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Keele University, Keele, Staffs ST5 5BG
e-mail: j.c.richardson@Keele.ac.uk


The impact of pain and chronic illness on the family has been documented, but there is little information about living with chronic widespread pain in the context of the family. This article uses data from a qualitative study of the experience of living with chronic widespread pain to examine the experience and meaning of support for people with this condition in the context of their families. It focuses on the varying, dynamic and reciprocal nature of practical and emotional support in the family. Family members may provide support but are also receivers of support from the person with chronic widespread pain. The factors mediating the provision of this support are also explored, including the nature of the pain and the needs of the person with pain, and the roles, responsibilities and characteristics of other family members.