Quality of life and coping strategies among immigrant women living with pain in Denmark: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

To examine quality of life and coping strategies among immigrant women living with chronic pain.

Qualitative content analysis based on in-depth semistructured interviews.

A clinic specifically targeting immigrants at a larger university hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Non-western female immigrant patients suffering from chronic pain (n=13).

Main outcome measures
Experiences of the impact of chronic pain on quality of life.

Chronic pain was perceived to have an extensive, adverse effect on all aspects of quality of life, including physical health, mental well-being and social relations. This included the ability to maintain activities of daily living and the ability to work. Chronic pain was further experienced as a cause of emotional distress, depression and altered personalities, which all had great consequences on women's social interactions, causing change and loss of social relations. A variety of coping strategies were used to cope with the pain, manage its consequences, and restore a level of health that would enable women to function and fulfil social roles. Many participants coped with the pain by altering everyday life, keeping daily activities to a minimum and taking pain-killing drugs, offering temporary relief. Seeking healthcare was another coping strategy used as an active means to assert agency and as a temporary distraction from pain. However, accessing healthcare also involved a risk of disagreement and disappointments.

Chronic pain had a severe negative impact on quality of life and necessitated alterations in everyday life and active health-seeking strategies. Implications for practice imply a need for a more holistic approach to immigrant women with chronic pain, including a family-centred approach. Further research is needed to explore similarities or differences in and between populations with diverse ethnic, socioeconomic and psychosocial backgrounds, and to assess how ethnicity and culture might influence the experiences of chronic pain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalB M J Open
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 161067589