The meaning of resilience to persons living with chronic pain: An interpretive qualitative inquiry

Caryn West, Lee Stewart, Kim Foster, Kim Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. The purpose of this study was to explore the meaning of resilience, or adaptation in the face of adversity, to people living with chronic pain. Background. Little research on the usefulness of resilience, strength-based approach to health care has been undertaken to date in the area of pain yet this approach has recently been proposed as a new model for chronic pain management. However, the meaning of resilience to people with chronic pain remains unknown. Design. An interpretive qualitative design using in-depth interviews and phenomenological type analysis was undertaken. Methods. Purposive sampling and in-depth interviewing were undertaken to develop a rich description of the experience. Results. The findings from this study revealed that while living with chronic pain is generally a negative experience, the participants also told positive stories around the following themes: (i) Recognising individual strength; (ii) Looking for the positives in life; (iii) Accepting the pain; and (iv) Learning to accept help. Conclusion. Chronic pain influences all aspects of life. Resilient individuals with chronic pain recognise the value of remaining positive, accepting help and learning to live with the pain. Relevance to clinical practice. It is important for health professionals to recognise the role of supporting positive attributes in people living with chronic pain as a way of enhancing resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1292
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


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