Understanding chronic pain complicating disability: Finding meaning through focus group methodology

Douglas, Clint, Windsor, Carol A., & Wollin, Judy (2006) Understanding chronic pain complicating disability: Finding meaning through focus group methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(3), p. 20.

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Over the past few decades a major paradigm shift has occurred in the conceptualisation of chronic pain as a complex multidimensional phenomenon. Yet, pain experienced by individuals with a primary disability continues to be understood largely from a traditional biomedical model, despite its inherent limitations. This is reflected in the body of literature on the topic that is primarily driven by positivist assumptions and the search for etiologic pain mechanisms. Conversely, little is known about the experiences of and meanings attributed to, disability-related pain. Thus the purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of focus group methodology in elucidating the meanings and experiences of this population. Here, a distinction is made between the method of the focus group and focus group research as methodology. Typically, the focus group is presented as a seemingly atheoretical method of research. Drawing on research undertaken on the impact of chronic pain in people with multiple sclerosis, this paper seeks to theorise the focus group in arguing the methodological congruence of focus group research and the study of pain experience. It is argued that the contributions of group interaction and shared experiences in focus group discussions produce data and insights less accessible through more structured research methods. It is concluded that a biopsychosocial perspective of chronic pain may only ever be appreciated when the person-in-context is the unit of investigation.

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ID Code: 64448
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: disability-related pain, chronic pain, disability, focus groups, qualitative, multiple sclerosis, MS, pain
ISSN: 1609-4069
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 14 Nov 2013 01:50
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2013 04:52

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