Chronic Pain and the Experiences of Women Seeking Treatment in the U.S. Medical System: A Heuristic Qualitative Study

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LaRusso, Marina
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
The following qualitative study examines the question, “What is the lived experience of women with chronic pain seeking medical treatment in the United States?” Using a heuristic model, the researcher both integrated personal experiences, as well as conducted interviews with 4-8 women who experience chronic pain. The interviews were used to present and discuss commonalities and to capture significant statements. In addition, themes were recorded that emerged and reflected the experiences of the participants that hope to enhance the depth of research surrounding this topic. Co-researchers, also known as participants, had the opportunity to do a piece of art at the end of their interview in response to their experience with chronic pain. Engaging with art while relating to the experience of chronic pain offered another avenue for gathering data to inform the research question. All co-researchers, and the conductor of the study, engaged in a final focus group to extend the sharing of experiences, art, observations, and emerging themes, and to thereby deepen the understanding of the research question.